`Maha to impose MCOCA on sand mafia if needed`

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 20:16

Mumbai: Admitting that illegal sand
dredging was difficult to stamp out, Maharashtra Government
on Wednesday told the Legislative Assembly that stringent provisions
of the MCOCA would be invoked against the sand mafia wherever
necessary.

Minister of State for Revenue, Prakash Solanke, told the
lower house during the Question Hour that sand auction had
earned the state exchequer a revenue of Rs 1,051 crore in
2010-11.

"It is true that illegal and unscrupulous elements have
entered into this business. Until an alternative is found,
sand auction is a good source of revenue and even if the
auction is not done, it is difficult to stop illegal
dredging," Solanke said.

According to the minister, 8200 instances of illegal
excavation of sand were reported between July 1, 2010 and June
30, 2011, out of which cases were filed in 633 instances and a
penalty of Rs 33 crore imposed.

"Only Rs 10 crore was recovered (in penalty)," the
minister said.

To the demand of invoking the Maharashtra Control of
Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) against the unscrupulous sand
mafia raised by Ashish Jaiswal of Shiv Sena, the minister said
the provisions would be applied wherever necessary.

Meanwhile, accusing the state government of being
hand-in-glove with the sand mafia, MNS MLA Ram Kadam said,
"The government should explain why cases have been filed only
in 633 instances out of total 8200".

The Opposition later staged a walkout not satisfied with
the response of the minister who agreed to conduct a survey of
losses due to illegal dredging.

PTI




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