Dams · Sand Mining

Sand Mining Review 2017- 3 – Judicial Interventions Fail To Restore Damage

In the first part we have seen, countless reports from 2017 revealing unabated riverbed mining,   exposing some politicians-officials-mafia nexus and showing no let up in violent attacks on many villagers, activists, government officials possibly by sand mafia across the country.

In the second part of Sand Mining Review of 2017, reports have highlighted several State Governments failing to effectively reign in unsustainable sand mining business despite sometimes prompt administrative actions. Interestingly, while several States want the Centre to form a uniform mechanism, the Central Government on the contrary has proposed further dilution of mining laws.

Now, here is third and concluding part of this review, highlighting judicial interventions on the issue.

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Dams · Sand Mining

Riverbed Mining 2017 -II- States Look To Centre, Centre Dilutes Norms

In the first part we see, how under business as usual scenario, incidences of illegal riverbed mining going on unabated across the country. Reports suggest that Uttar Pardesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Goa have emerged leading states affected by illegal sand mining.

In 2017, countless reports have exposed politicians-officials-mafia nexus responsible behind mindless plundering of scarce natural resource in open violations of norms. Similarly, throughout the year, there have been several violent attacks on villagers, activists, government officials by sand mafia. In a whole more than 26 people are killed in incidences involving illegal extraction of sand.

In this detailed second part, SANDRP presents account of various measures taken by different State Governments and Central Government to check the unsustainable riverbed mining practices. The third and concluding part would cover legal interventions initiated by respective Judicial bodies to reign in the unsustainable, unlawful sand mining activities across India.

Continue reading “Riverbed Mining 2017 -II- States Look To Centre, Centre Dilutes Norms”

Dams · Sand Mining

Illegal Sand Mining 2017: Rivers Continue To Lose Mindless Mining Battle

Undoubtedly sand is essential part of river ecosystem. Like flow and fish it helps rivers stay healthy. It’s critical for ground water recharge, replenishes the nutrients in moving water, supplies lean season flow to rivers and provides habitat to numerous forms of aquatic and riparian fauna.

Despite all this, illegal and unsustainable mining of sand and boulders is widespread across the country taking heavy toll on the lifelines of modern civilization. Continuing our effort to assess the scale of threat and level of devastation illegal sand mining is posing to our rivers, SANDRP presents State wise 2017 year end review on the issue. This is third straight year that we are doing this after 2015 and 2016. The subsequent reports would cover Governments’ role and Judicial interventions to reign in the unsustainable, unlawful sand mining activities across India.

Continue reading “Illegal Sand Mining 2017: Rivers Continue To Lose Mindless Mining Battle”

Dams · Sand Mining

River Sand Mining in India in 2016–III – Judicial Interventions

Ever since its land mark judgment[1] on February 27, 2012, the Supreme Court (SC) of India is not hearing any particular case pertaining to River sand mining regulation. In 2012 judgment SC had directed all Union Territories and State Governments to seek Environmental Clearances (EC) from Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for mining minor minerals even in less than 5 ha or renew the same after prior approval from the MoEF&CC. Before this order, mining areas of less than 5 ha were exempted from EC enacted under Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)-2006[2].

On Aug 5, 2013, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), has passed an important decision[3] ordering a ban on sand excavation across the country without permission from State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and MoEF&CC. Further in November 2013, interpreting environment as Central Government subject and directing MoEF&CC to frame uniform sand extraction rules, the NGT prohibited State Governments[4] to form mining rules separately.

Since then, in pursuit of compliance to aforesaid orders, NGT and the High Court (HC) in several States have been frequently directing respective Government agencies to facilitate sustainable River sand removal. In this context, these courts have issued a number of orders and decisions all through 2016.

In fact, the sustained hearings in SC and NGT have resulted in first to Sustainable Sand Mining Policy draft 2016[5] and then to formation of Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines 2016[6].

Continue reading “River Sand Mining in India in 2016–III – Judicial Interventions”

Dams · Sand Mining

River Sand Mining in India in 2016-II- Governments Show no Will to Regulate

 

In the second part of three-part blog series SANDRP presents an overview of steps taken by Central and State Governments on this issue of river sand mining practices in the year 2016.

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

The year 2016 started with a welcoming development when none other than the Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi himself, while delivering inaugural address[1] at 103rd session of Indian Science Congress, in Mysuru on January 06, 2016 cited the importance of rivers in human history.  Emphasizing the value of rivers, he stressed on the use of science and technology to understand the impact of urbanization, farming, industrialization and ground water use and contamination on the river eco-system. Revering the Rivers as soul of nature, the PM emphasized to make renewal of Rivers an element of a larger effort to sustain Nature.

Contrary to this, on January 06, 2016, the Union Transport Minister revealed Government plans considering use of river sand for national highways construction[2]. The minister particularly mentioned sand of river Yamuna to be used in construction of national highways and agreements would be signed with states to seek approval for using sand from their rivers. The report ironically mentioned it as innovative moves to boost infrastructure development. Interestingly the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines 2016[3] from Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) condemned the use of sand in concretization including its burial under highways despite very high value of minerals found in the sand. 

In the same month the MoEF&CC came out with a draft notification[4] for a new sustainable sand and minor mineral mining policy[5] applicable form January 1, 2016. Proposing to decentralize the process of granting environmental clearance the draft notification prescribed creation of District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) for screening mining proposals followed after district level survey report. As per the draft policy District, State and Central level authorities were eligible to approve environment clearances (EC) for mining up to five ha, 5-50 ha, over 50 ha respectively. 

Continue reading “River Sand Mining in India in 2016-II- Governments Show no Will to Regulate”

Dams · Sand Mining

River Sand Mining in India in 2016

For past many years, incidents of illegal river sand mining across the country are on the rise. Given its resultant and adverse impact on river system and dependent communities, various state and central governments continue to go through the motions of devising a mechanism for judicious excavation of this minor mineral. But there seems no will to achieve compliance. At the same the time, people and concerned groups affected by illegitimate riverbed mining practices are approaching judiciary seeking legal intervention to curb the unsustainable mining of the natural resource.   

In this backdrop, continuing[1] tracking of this issue (like in 2015) SANDRP is providing an overview of various aspects related abstraction of the finite grit material from the rivers through a three part blog series. The first part of the series presents description of the most of the illegal riverbed sand mining incidents that have taken place in different Indian States through the year 2016. The second part of the blog gives account of the measures taken by governments at States and Central level to check the pilferage of this natural resource. The third part will highlight on the legal interventions by respective courts including Honorable Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT) to regulate unscientific quarrying of riverbeds.

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Dams · Sand Mining

River Sand Mining in India in 2015–III–Judicial Actions

Unsustainable sand mining from riverbeds can have huge social, environmental, geomorphic and disastrous impacts for rivers. In this three part reports; SANDRP is trying to provide a picture of what happened on this issue in 2015 in India. The first part covered the detail of illegal sand extraction across many Indian States in 2015. The second part presented an account of measures and actions taken by Central and State Governments (Govts).

This third and final part provides information on significant judicial decisions issued by different Courts particularly National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2015.  Continue reading “River Sand Mining in India in 2015–III–Judicial Actions”

Rivers · Sand Mining

River Sand Mining in India in 2015

Unsustainable sand mining from riverbeds can have huge social, environmental, geomorphic and disastrous impacts for rivers. In this three part report, SANDRP is trying to provide a picture of what happened on this issue in 2015 in India.

This first part looks into 2015 putting together instances of illegal sand mining that occurred throughout the year in different Indian States. The successive blogs would make an attempt to cover all governmental measures and judicial interventions taken in 2015 to reign in uncontrolled extraction of this possibly most consumed natural resource after air and water.

Illegal mining of sand is profoundly linked to growth in construction industry that have accelerated in recent decades. Since then demand for this mineral is only going up. Today possibly there is not a single river in the country that is not ruined by sand mining. As a result, while the state of rivers has gone worse, the number of violent instances around illegal sand mining is on the increase.

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Dams · Interlinking of RIvers · Rivers · Sand Mining

Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin 16 Nov. 2015 (Tamil Nadu floods claim 95 lives)

Incessant rains continued to disrupt normal life in Chennai and across Tamil Nadu on Monday, with the death toll rising to 95. Many areas in Chennai have been inundated, road traffic has been severely hit and schools and colleges are shut across Chennai as a result of the inclement weather. Boats are being used in flooded areas to rescue stranded people. Also see, Rain continues to batter Tamil Nadu, disaster response teams deployed

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Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin Oct 26, 2015 (Saving Tigers is Saving Rivers, Story of once dry Tamirabarani River )

Tamirabarani teaches: Saving tiger is saving river  After Kalakkad-Mundanthurai was declared tiger reserve in 1992, Tamirabarani river has regained its perennial status. Though shorter than Cauvery and Vaigai, Tamirabarani has always held a special place in the state. It started turning dry for four months every year. People of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin thought their river too was going the way of other state rivers. But a move to save the tiger inadvertently became a save the-river policy. The Union ministry of environment and forests declared the Kalakkad – Mundanthurai area as a tiger reserve in 1992. In three years, there was a noticeable change. A study on water inflow into the Karayar river, a tributary, inside the reserve was taken up. Records show that from 1946 till 1990, the river received only 13,000 cubic feet of water annually. After the area was declared as a tiger reserve, the inflow increased to 23,000 cubic feet.

Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin Oct 26, 2015 (Saving Tigers is Saving Rivers, Story of once dry Tamirabarani River )”