Image Credit : Nandakumar Pawar

By Vineet Malik | London, England | February 06, 2021

193 Died in River Sand Mining Incidents in India in 2019-20

The environment has been paying a substantial price over quenching the greed of human beings for amassing wealth at the cost of widespread devastation and endangering our evolution.

A recent research published by “International Journal of Science” underscored the adverse effects of sand mining on the environment in India.

Illegal sand mining has resulted in changing the flow and degradation of rivers and coastal ecosystem, soil erosion, deepening of rivers and estuaries and severe ecological imbalance.

Sand mining in India is regulated through various national and province laws where-in, it should be legitimately carried out only after obtaining approvals from statutory bodies along with mandatory safety measures.

Unfortunately, that seldom happens according to the rule book.

Involvement of sand mafias in bludgeoning people to death is often debated by scores of people in society however such instances are only surging with time. The illegal sand mining activities involve the local mafia who often use arms and weapons to run the racket.

According to a report in NewsClick, journalist Shubham Mani Tripathi employed with a local newspaper : Kampu Mail was shot dead by unidentified persons on June 19 last year for reporting on illegal sand mafia activities in Uttar Pradesh state.

Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz Foundation – an environmental NGO in Mumbai says, “As sand is one of the indispensable ingredient for driving the economy through construction growth agenda, therefore political will to cease illegal sand mining is lacking.”

Image Credit : Nandakumar Pawar

Recently, a virtual dialogue titled “Blood on the Sand” focused on dangers of riverbed mining in South Asia was organised by Third Pole where-in the role in governance of sand mining and the failure of the Government was discussed by the participants.

Justice Madan Lokur, a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India recently expressed concern over deteriorating law and order situation and said, “The core issue of implementation of sand mining laws gets concealed on a wrong premise of policy decisions.”

In late 2020, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People(SANDRP)released a shocking report titled“193 dead in River Sand Mining incidents in India in 2019-20”. The said report underscored illegal sand mining activities adversely impacting river ecosystem and riparian communities.

The report also highlighted detailed province wise data of people directly or indirectly alleged to have been killed due to illegal sand mining activities, involvement of politicos and cited deterioration of the ground situation.

Despite several protests by locals and number of court orders reprimanding the central and province governments, people from all sections of society are targeted for speaking against unlawful sand mining activities.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with a title M Alagarsamy Vs Union of India filed in the Supreme Court of India in 2018 with a plea to cease all river and beach sand mining activities by Advocate Pranav Sachdeva still remains undecided.

Advocate Sachdeva says, “The only way to stop the current loot, is by scrapping all existing sand mining leases/licenses across the Country and thereafter work in conformity with the lawful procedures.”

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