3 foresters injured in attack by stone mafia in Rohtas | Patna News

SASARAM: Three forest personnel were injured and their official vehicles damaged in an attack by the stone mafia at Kanchanpur village in Bihar’s Rohtas district on Wednesday morning.
Rohtas divisional forest officer (DFO) P Gaurav said the officials were attacked after they intercepted and seized four earthmovers laden with stone boulders in the village. “A mob with lethal weapons attacked the patrolling party and the official vehicles. Three forest personnel, including the driver, received head injuries. The attackers escaped with the seized vehicle,” the DFO said, adding that police have registered a case.
The DFO blamed the local administration for providing only six jawans for checking illegal sand mining in the area against the requirement of at least 20 SAP jawans. “The six jawans were also withdrawn recently for the ongoing panchayat election. The forest department had to take the services of local police for patrolling in the quarrying areas. My earnest requests for deployment of at least 20 jawans got no response from the administration,” he said.
On September 15, 2019, the Rohtas DFO was himself attacked when he had seized two stone-laden tractors at Fajilpur village under Muffasil police station area of the district. Though the DFO had escaped unhurt, his official vehicle was vandalized and the attackers managed to escape with the seized vehicles.
Stone quarrying in the hills was banned in 2009 as the state government had decided not to renew the mining licences which expired that year.
The sources said despite all efforts made by the state government, illegal stone quarrying could not be checked. The opening of a police outpost near the quarrying area and even explosion of more than 100 exit-entry points have failed to yield desired result .
The sources said since chief minister Nitish Kumar raised concern over illegal stone mining in 2017 during his ‘vikas yatra’ here, the local administration had created trenches up to 40ft deep and 20ft wide by triggering explosions on the lanes and bylanes being used to transport the illegally-mined stone chips out of the hills area.
The operation had taken two months and additional police forces from neighbouring three districts of Kaimur, Bhojpur and Buxar were deployed as precautionary measures. The forest department had also done wire fencing around the mining area.
However, locals said, the stone quarrying resumed only weeks later and more than 100 stone-laden trucks were seized by the forest department officials.
Again in February 2020, the district administration launched a fresh move to make explosions on 25 more entry-exit points of the Kaimur hills so as to prevent stone quarrying. The step had been taken after a visit of a three-member team of government officials led by the then state home secretary on February 1, 2020.

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