Illegal Mining, Impatient Mafi a and Ill-treated Administrators

As the construction sector grows, illegal sand and granite mining can only be expected to increase. From what can be seen until now, honest offi cers who have taken action against the sand mafi a in their respective districts in different states have either been transferred or suspended. The politician-sand mafi a nexus must be broken in order to protect the environment and prevent huge revenue loss.

In popular cinema, the hooligans are always defeated by the end of the film and the heroes win thus demonstrating that truth will triumph. But the recent action against upright administrators who cracked down on illegal sand mining calls for a different look at the mafia-administrators tangle. Durga Shakti Nagpal, a young Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was suspended for her stringent action against the sand mafia smuggling sand from the banks of the Yamuna River in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh (UP). She had registered 40 cases and seized more than 300 sand-laden tippers for illegal sand mining within six months of her posting. This irked the local sand mafia-political class. The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) suspended her and justified the suspension.

Sand, clay and silt mining is common in the waterbodies and is growing phenomenally due to the increasing demand in the construction segment. The upright officials who take action against such illegal activity are victimised. There are cases wherein officials, civil society volunteers and common people are subjected to physical attacks and even murdered. Fearing such attacks the officials especially the lower ranking ones do not even register cases against illegal sand mining.

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