Isnin, 13 April 2009

Ilegal sand mining still rampant in Selangor - Ronnie Liu

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RAMPANT illegal sand mining activities in the districts is costing the Selangor government millions of ringgit in losses annually.
The sand mining activity, believed to be one of the biggest in the state, is being conducted on a plot of state-owned land behind the Genting Sanyen Paper Mill, off the Banting–Nilai highway.

The mine is situated next to more than 6,000ha of forest reserve, an orang asli settlement and a brick making plant. Checks revealed that the sand theft activity was rampant and had been going on for many years in the area.
Hard evidence: When the authorities visited the site, a lorry dumped this load of sand before speeding off.
It is estimated that an average of 200 trucks daily are transporting sand out from the mine which is about 20ha in size.
The mining activity stretches to about 10km around a mining pool in the area.
According to a state government source, the extracting of sand from mining pools in the area was something that goes on until late at night.
He said the activities were particularly rampant in the evening, and on weekends and public holidays.
“Loads and loads of sand are being transported out daily,’’ he added.
In their bid to stay away from authorities, the source said the activity which started in the morning normally gained momentum after office hours.
He said the District Office was aware of the activity and had conducted several raids against the culprits in the past.
He said there had been a series of enforcement raids but they had failed to stop the thieves.
“The mining activity is being operated by a syndicate which is well-organised and they provide protection for those who are involved in the theft.
“They provide cover for the trucks and the mining workers by hiring thugs including the service of tontos,’’ he said.
The source said the tontos often operated from outside the area and provided information whenever they felt the presence of the authorities in the area.
He said there had been also cases of the tontos intimidating enforcement officers or those who they felt were causing a threat to their activities.
“The tontos, who operate with four-wheel-drive vehicles, will trail government vehicles that are moving towards the sand mines and will do everything possible to stop the authorities from doing their duties.
“There have been cases of windscreens being smashed and officers receiving threats from these thugs,’’ he said.
State local government committee chairman Ronnie Liu, when contacted, agreed that a lot of money was being lost through the illegal sand mining activity.
Liu issued a stay away warning to the sand thieves or they would have to face the law.
He said it was a serious offence for people to indulge in sand theft on government land.
“I advise these people to lay off with immediate effect and apply to the state for permits to extract sand from these mines.
“We are planning to open up all the sand mines in the state and issue new licences to more companies,’’ he said

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