As the entire nation discusses the nefarious nexus between the illegal mining lobbies, particularly the sand mining circuits in the country, the ill-effects of the activity are out for everyone to understand. Notwithstanding the ecological damage to the riverbeds and the surrounding ecosystems, illegal sand mining has also resulted in enormous losses to the public exchequer in terms of potential revenues and the cost of environmental degradation.
The illicit and rampant pilfering of sand has been a longstanding problem, yet little has been done so far to address the issue. In fact, rather than deterring the grievous effects of the activities, the state machinery, including our politicians and bureaucrats, have been hand-in-glove with the circuits of illegal mining, flagrantly defying the ecological concerns and flouting governmental norms, where they are in place. Moreover, the sand mining mafia has connections with the builders’ lobbies across the board, and together they inflict major damage on the urban and rural bionetworks. Lifting of sand causes irreparable damage to the riverside ecosystems, altering the course of the rivers, their tributaries, leading to floods on the one hand and droughts on the other.
Disregarding and exploiting the river systems in the country, a vital natural resource that stands endangered and on the brink of severe depletion, are the banes of the eco-terrorism that is being practiced by the rank and file of Indian political, corporate and bureaucratic classes. Particularly, in Uttar Pradesh, a river-rich province, changes are high that the NGT’s regulation will be undermined and business will continue as usual. However, it is the responsibility of the state governments that the order be taken seriously.