Press Release – 06.08.2013
CEC of AIKMS has warned that the order of Green Tribunal banning sand mining in rivers is fraught with danger of false security about preventing illegal mining just like with earlier Supreme Court order of February 2013 in Deepak Kumar vs State of Haryana (SLP No 19628-19629). Laws, Govt and Court orders are freely undermined by UP govt. It allotted lease rights to the lease holder Mafia subject to obtaining of Environmental Clearance which is obtained paying a bribes. The lease deeds finally signed by Mining Departments pin the responsibility of safeguarding environment on the lease holder as per the clearance obtained from the MoEF, etc. No govt official or department is responsible on paper and environment safety is thus “leased out”.
Illegal mining causing rapacious damage to river ecology is happening mainly on two accounts. One is deep excavation of river banks (not river bed) which destroys acquatic flora and the large variety of river bed agriculture, the associated worm and insect life and all related fish life. It deprives poor farmers and fishermen of livelihood. Deep excavation is done by loaders (see photos) which are banned in the law and court orders. It causes deep pits which get destroyed when rain water ravages the river banks, erodes the bank lining causing mud slides and damage to adjacent farms and also exposes the river to change course. Sand mine permits are given only for ‘river bed’, but from Greater Noida to Allahabad – Kaushambi permit holding mafia are digging up the river bankts, blocking river flow to build roads on the river and sending trucks and loaders (see photos) to the central islands and threatening livelihood of people, ecology and environment.
The other aspect is mining from the river bed which is done traditionally by boats and manually, employing lakhs of people. Mafia deployed deep pumps to suck out the bed and create deep pits which caused erosion of land below the ghats and villages. It also deprived lakhs of boatmen and sand workers of their livelihood.
Bans have been issued on mafia operations by UP govt as per GO No.6706/77-5-2000-8 (204)/95 dated 30 Dec 2000. and the High Court WP No 13317/08 and others. Powerful mafia, BSP MP Kapilmuni Karwaria, brother and ex BJP MLA Udaybhan Karwaria, SP MLA Vijma Yadav, ex MP Narendra Bhatti, and several others have continued their illegal activities with help from police and powerful ministers, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Indarajeet Saroj, Baburam Kushwaha of BSP and Shivpal Singh Yadav and Azam Khan of SP.
Sand mine workers’ struggles in 2005 and 2008 forcefully uprooted the machines (see photos) when officials refused to act, but the attempts of mafia and ministers to deploy them continue. Officials who protected the law, like SP Kaushambi Pratibha Ambedkar (2012) and CO Ghoorpur Shwetab Pandey (2013) were shunted out, DSP Zia ul Haq of Pratapgarh and another in Bind Morena killed. Now Durag Shakti has been suspended.
While demanding ban on use of machines, blocking of river flow, ban on digging up of river banks and struggling against the mafia conducting these operations, AIKMS has repeatedly demanded that mining rights and govt permits be given to boatmen and local villagers. AIKMS reiterates its demand and appeals to democratic forces to rally to save the rivers from mining mafia and builders.
(Dr. Ashish Mital)