The Sand Mafia, Ms Durga Nagpal (the IAS officer) who cracked down on them and Akhilesh Yadav (the chief minister of UP) who has had her suspended on supposed different grounds – have been all over the news. I want to keep away from the political, criminal and corrupt aspect of the above and focus on a key element that Ms Nagpal’s efforts have brought up…the ecological issue that is illegal sand mining!
My first reaction when I heard about this was – how important can “sand” being siphoned be –and dismissed it as yet another incident of corruption that we have got so accustomed to hearing about – until the ecological impact was brought to light. Illegal sand miners remove sand from wherever it is easily accessible and supply it for construction purposes to builders. The most common source being rivers like Yamuna, Ganga, Chambal – all for their superior quality of sand. Illegal miners dig deep into and alongside the river beds causing erosion, loss of minerals, changing the channel beg and causing ground water shortage – all of these have a direct and very serious impact on our habitat.
It is reported that a shocking 350 dumper trucks carrying 7 tonnes of sand each move out from the Yamuna riverside itself EVERYDAY! The environmental bodies have moved for a ruling that any sand mining without a “green license” should be banned —-the ground reality with respect to implementation is of course a whole different story.
Photo Credits: Image: Lalit Shastri, The Hindu
References: Why Sand Mining is Bad: The Ecological Story