Udupi district deputy commissioner (DC) Priyanka Francis complained to the police on late night, Sunday, April 2, that she and assistant commissioner (AC) Shilpa Nag faced a murder attempt by illegal sand miners at Kandlur near Kundapur.

 

Earlier the DC and AC had raided a place where illegal sand mining was taking place at Halnad and took 6 persons into custody. All of them are North Indians. Later at 11.30 pm, the same team raided a place at Kandlur when the culprits attacked two drivers, DC’s gunman and a village accountant Kantharaju. DC and AC, both women, accompanying them also faced murder attempt, as per the complaint.

 

 

In addition to 6 North Indians taken into custody, 8 locals were also arrested later. They will be produced in court today. As per the information available, DC and AC went in a private car for the raid and did not inform the local police about the raid in order to keep the plans a secret.

 

 

The incident brings to mind the story of Doddakoppalu Kariyappa Ravi (DK Ravi), an IAS officer who committed suicide in 2015 (whether it is suicide or murder, the search is on). He was an officer of the Karnataka cadre and when he was posted as the deputy commissioner of the Kolar district, among other crackdowns he also curbed to an extent the rampant illegal sand mining in the district.

 

According a report in Deccan Chronicle, following 14 months of service, he was transferred to Bengaluru by the government of Karnataka as Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Enforcement) in October 2014. After his five months tenure as additional commissioner which involved tax raids on some major Real estate firms, he was found dead at his residence in Bengaluru on 16 March 2015, under suspicious circumstances.

 

Since last year, the focus on illegal sand mining has been strong. According to fishermen in Mangaluru, sand mining in the Coastal Regulatory Zone from the Netravathi and the Gurupura was causing the Arabian Sea to crawl into the mainland every year, eating up metres. Tonnes of sand being extracted from here is making the beachfront weak and in case of heavy rains or a tsunami, the beach will be susceptible to collapse.

 

 

In a report in 2016 in the Times of India, it detailed how the National Environment Care Federation (NECF), an NGO, had released a 300-page document with sting video clippings on illegal sand mining allegedly taking place in Unidivided Dakshina Kannada district. The NGO alleged that illegal sand mining in coastal Karnataka was a scandal of more than Rs 850 crore per annum and the documents were prepared over two years to prove the illegal sand mining.