Sand Mining

South Zone: 25 sand and stone mining workers died since Dec. 2020

(Feature Image:- The spot where gelatin sticks exploded in Feb. 2021 killing 6 people at a quarry site at Hirenagaveli village, Chikkaballapur district. Credit: DH Photo/Pushkar V)

Annually scores of Indian people have been meeting untimely deaths and suffering injuries due to violence and accidents associated with unregulated sand mining activities. We have compiled zone wise detailed reports on human toll of sand mining for the period between December 2020 and March 2022. The reports for North, East and North East and West zones have been published. This is fourth and last summary report of detailed file attached here on the issue for South zone covering Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala states. We did not come across any report on the subject from Union Territory of Puducherry for this period.

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Sand Mining

North India: 136 people killed in sand mining violence & accidents in 16 months

(Feature Image: 1 killed, 17 injured after a sand truck toppled in mine pit in Kosi river, Ram Nagar. Source Amar Ujala, 30 Jan. 2021)

Among the many issues affecting Riverbed sand mining is the issue of violence of various types. Stories of such violence keeps coming up from all across the country all the time. However, there is no comprehensive picture emerging about this violence. SANDRP has been trying to compile available information about instances of various types of violence related to river bed mining since last few years.

Tracking the issue, this year we have prepared detailed accounts along with summary reports in a Zone wise format. This first part is a summary report of the detailed account on North Zone states including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh and covers sand mining violence and deaths that took place between December 2020 and March 2022, following after our earlier report that carried the figures for period upto Nov 2020. The successive parts will cover East & North East, West and South Zones. SANDRP’s previous report detailing nearly 193 human deaths between January 2019 and November 2020 on account of illegal sand mining activities can be seen here.

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Sand Mining

Riverbed Mining India 2021 Overview: Judiciary unable to fix Governance  

Feature Image:- Trucks seeking to transport sand stuck in Krishna river after flash floods, 300 people rescued (Image source: TNIE)

Rivers and riverine communities in India have been facing significant threats from large scale unsustainable sand mining operations. As part of our annual overview, SANDRP has compiled the prevailing scenario in the country over the year 2021 in first part. The second part has focused on some important policy and governance steps taken by various state governments. This third part tracks top ten judicial decisions and interventions in 2021 by various High Courts, National Green Tribunals (NGT) and Supreme Court.  

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Sand Mining

Riverbed Mining India 2021 Overview: Govts’ Changing Policies to Mine Revenues

(Feature image showing brazen rule violations in legally approved sand (morang) mining site along river Ken at Kanwara, Banda. Source: Ashish Sagar Dixit.)

This second part of riverbed sand mining overview 2021 by SANDRP highlights relevant reports from ten different states where governments have taken new policy, administrative decisions. The first part presenting prevailing riverbed mining scenario over past one year can be seen here. The third and final part of this series would cover the key judicial interventions.    

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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].

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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. 

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