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ILLEGAL SAND MINING IN INDIA: IMPACT AND CHALLENGES



  Jun 20, 2024

ILLEGAL SAND MINING IN INDIA: IMPACT AND CHALLENGES



Where is illegal sand mining prevalent?

Illegal sand mining is widespread across India, particularly in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. Riverbeds, coastal areas, and agricultural lands are commonly targeted for sand extraction.

Why is illegal sand mining a problem?

Illegal sand mining is driven by the booming construction industry, which requires vast amounts of sand for concrete production. The global demand for sand is around 50 billion metric tons annually, making it the world’s largest extraction industry.

Who is involved in illegal sand mining?

Organized crime groups, often referred to as the “sand mafia,” dominate illegal sand mining operations. These groups bribe and intimidate officials, engage in violent activities, and operate with little accountability.

What is the impact of illegal sand mining?

• Environmental Harm: Destruction of riverbeds and coastal ecosystems, leading to habitat loss, erosion, and extinction of species like the gharials.
• Economic Impact: Undermines local economies, leading to loss of agricultural land and livelihoods.
• Human Health: Degradation of water sources affecting irrigation and drinking water supplies.

What laws address illegal sand mining?

India has several laws aimed at regulating sand mining:

• The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
• The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
• The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
Despite these laws, enforcement is often weak, and illegal activities continue unabated.

What are the challenges in combating illegal sand mining?

• Corruption: Widespread bribery and intimidation of officials hinder enforcement efforts.
• Violence: Those who oppose illegal sand mining face threats and attacks, deterring activism and reporting.
• Demand: The relentless demand from the construction industry fuels illegal operations, making it difficult to curb.



Solutions to Combat Illegal Sand Mining:

1. Alternatives: Use of manufactured sand, artificial sand, and fly ash.
2. Regulation: Stricter enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
3. Community Involvement: Empowering local communities to monitor and report illegal activities.
4. Technology: Implementing advanced tracking and monitoring systems to oversee sand mining activities.

Conclusion

Illegal sand mining in India poses significant environmental, economic, and social challenges. Addressing these issues requires a multi-faceted approach involving stricter law enforcement, community engagement, and the adoption of sustainable alternatives.


SRIRAM’s
 
 


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