Need for multi-pronged attack on Sand mafia

Jammu and Kashmir is virtually doing little or nothing in taking the sand mining mafia head-on. It is yet to show courage to take over the sand trade. Nothing seems to impress the state government not even the fact that the illegal sand mining is causing extensive loss to the revenue besides damaging water resources, farm lands, bridges, dams, and power line towers.
The sand mafia, formed through a nexus of lorry owners and sand contractors with lower level politicians and policemen is unlikely to be eliminated by a mere executive order. Evidently, the officials of Geology and Mining department are not equipped to deal with such an organised racket. Help from the police, who often cites shortage of manpower for staying away from such operations, is difficult to obtain for night-time monitoring activities.
Geology and Mining department officials are unable to coordinate their activities with the police, and often have to chase offenders without any form of armed protection. Although lorry drivers are rarely armed, they pay no heed to officials in jeeps. Thus officials who risk their lives by coming in the way of the Lorries are viciously targeted.
Without doubt, the big failure in the prevailing circumstances is at the level of enforcement. Not surprisingly, there have been demands for the creation of a separate force within the police to deal exclusively with the sand mafia. Such a force could be on the lines of the Prohibition Enforcement Wing with a specific responsibility to tackle illegal sand and stone quarrying.
Enforcement issues aside, the way to break the back of the sand mafia is to go after the business interests behind it. After all, the illegally quarried sand ends up in otherwise legal construction sites. The crackdown on illegal quarrying should go hand in hand with a drive against unlicensed brick kilns and unmonitored construction activities. Tripsheets of Lorries must be checked meticulously at outposts, and sand deposited on private property must be brought under scrutiny. In the absence of such a multi-pronged attack, the sand mafia will continue to get away.

Recommended For You

About the Author: editor