Skip to main content

At least 193 died due to 'illegal, excessive' river sand mining since Jan 2019: SANDRP

Parents of kids who died in mining pits in Somb river, Yamuna Nagar, July 2019 
By Our Representative
A recent compilation has revealed that at least 193 people have been killed due to illegal sand mining operations across across India since January 2019. Compiled in a detailed report by Bhim Singh Rawat of the civil rights organization South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), it says that the highest number of people, 95 were killed in North India (49%) followed by 42 in West and Central India, 41 in East India and 15 in South India.
According to Rawat, “Illegal, excessive sand mining activities have been impacting river ecosystem and riparian communities adversely. Scores of villagers, young kids, reporters, activists and government officials are being attacked and killed every year for objecting to or due to unlawful and unsustainable excavation of River sand. The brazen mining is also leading to fatal road accidents which is again resulting in grievous injuries or even deaths.”
He adds, “The situation has only deteriorated despite several protests by locals and numbers of court orders reprimanding the central and the state governments. Political parties, politicians are directly or indirectly linked to many of these activities.”
According to the report, drowning, mine collapse, road accidents were the biggest killers, pointing out, of the total deaths 95 were caused by drowning in deep sand mining pits followed by 27 due to collapse of sand mounds and caving in of sand mines. The road accidents involving sand mining vehicles resulted in death of 26 people including 18 in North India only.
Rawat says, 148 deaths (which is about 76 percent) were found to be the result of excessive and unscientific riverbed mining and transportation of sand. Out of 26 deaths in road accidents 18 (about 69 percent) took place in just three North Indian states, Uttar Pradesh (12), Haryana (three) and Uttarakhand (three).
These included 23 farmers, five reporters and activists, and 11 government officials, including forest guards, policemen, revenue officials, mining personnel and district officials were killed by illegal miners, the report says.
Death toll in India due to Illegal Sand Mining in 2019-20
The report continues, infighting between rival groups led to the death of three illegal miners (one in UP, two in Madhya Pradesh) while three others (one in UP, two in Rajasthan) were killed in police encounter. Forty five deaths (about 23%), including those involved illegal mining, was the outcome of direct assault on villagers, government officials, activists and reporters.
The report further says, out of 95 drowning deaths in sand mining pits, 76 (80 percent) were either minor kids or young children or teenagers who entered in river to have a bath unaware of deep pits in the riverbed.
Sadly, it adds, 11 children of Haryana and 32 children in UP died after falling in deep sand pits in this period. Similarly, in Bihar, sand mining pits killed 11 in Sone river alone. The sand pits in Swan river in Punjab saw the death of eight villagers since 2013 and three in Banganga river in Uttarakhand.
As for reporters and activists, Rawat says, one reporter in UP, two activists in Odisha, one in Bihar and one in Tamil Nadu were killed for opposing and exposing illegal sand mining. Besides this, the report adds, there were brutal attacks on one reporter each in Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh and one Right to Information (RTI) activist in Kerala.

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.