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Friday, May 25, 2012

Tribals incited by sand mafia

May 25, 2012 DC Hyderabad The sand mafia is trying to instigate tribals and locals against the protection measures for tigers in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district. According to the forest department officials, wildlife wing, although there is no threat to those living in settlements in the tiger reserve area, the sand mafia is instigating protests. After the Kawal sanctuary was notified as a tiger reserve, the state forest officials cracked the whip against illegal sand dredging on the banks of Kadiyam river flowing through the sanctuary as well as the Godavari river along the periphery of the sanctuary. An official of the wildlife wing said, “We strongly suspect the role of the sand mafia, which has been active in the area, of not only funding the protests but also spreading the rumours.” Members of the sand mafia, who have lost their illegal revenue due to prohibition of sand dredging, are now campaigning against the tiger reserve by scaring tribals that they will be driven out. Forest officials say that unless the tribals themselves request to be relocated they will not be shifted. Wildlife department deputy conservator of forests, Mr A. Shankaran, said, “Sand in the forest area is a forest produce. Sand mining is illegal. It’s an even bigger offence within the sanctuary and much more serious crime in a tiger reserve.

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