Bhopal: Despite ban, illegal sand mining continues unabated near Dhamnod

Dhamnod: Making mockery of State government’s order of banning unauthorised sand mining across the state, sand stealing continues unabated around Dhamnod area not only leading to heavy revenue loss to the government, but it has wiped out fish and aquatic life. Even concerned department officials are well aware about the illegal activities going on around and to cover-up for the big sharks’ officials take action against the small fish.

Villagers from Balwari Dhar Phata, situated on the bank of one of the tributaries of Narmada river complained that excavation machine is continuously dredging sand from a stretch of tributaries river bed flowing through the area, courtesy few incompetent officials who failed to rein in illegal excavation despite the ban.

“Even we raised our complaint before the competent officials, but none of them is ready to act in the matter as result of that, sand stealing continues unabated around the area,” Sakhuram Patel, one of the villager from Balwari Dhar Phata complained.  Earlier, State government banned unauthorised sand mining across the state. The state government has also banned the use of machines for mining in all rivers across Madhya Pradesh.

Many villagers here claimed that illegal mining is damaging the river and putting the region at grave environmental risk. But our plea has fallen on deaf ears. The villagers, however, allege that the district administration is fully in the know, but has deliberately turned a blind eye. Not only river beds, but gravel excavation from hillocks is going on unabated in the area.

According to Sodan Singh, 38, a resident Dhar Pandnaya road raised serious allegation of nexus between sand miners, politicians and administrative officials claiming that such kind of large-scale illegal mining can’t go on without the support of administration. “Earlier, this village was surrounded by several hillocks, but now hardly any trace remains of hillocks,” he said. “There is lot of political pressure that prevents the district authorities from taking strong action,” he added.

Singh alleged that mining department officials are well aware about what is going on, but some of them fear for their lives and they don’t want to mess with those involved in the illegal business, while some officials make money by acting like mute spectators. When contacted Bhavana Singhar, mining officer from Dhar district to get her response over the illegal mining in the area, she said that they continuously carry out drive against illegal mining activities.

“In case we get any complaint or report from people around, we will take immediate step into the matter as we don’t allow any such illegal activities to happen in the area,” Singhar added. Meanwhile, one of the mining department official on condition of anonymity admitted that sand stealing is going on but because of resource crunch it is not possible for us to maintain round-the-clock vigil. “Our mining department is short staffed despite this as and when we receive complaints, action is taken,” he said.

Meanwhile, rampant illegal sand mining taking place in a tributary of Narmada has raised serious concerns over the destruction of invaluable ecosystem and borrow pits created by perpetrators, which poses danger to the people.

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