Unlawful sand mining rampant at Tonk in ‘connivance with officers and cops’

JAIPUR: Despite the ban, extensive illegal mining continues in Tonk district, allegedly with the connivance of mining and police departments.

Since the administration has turned a blind eye towards illegal mining, the mafia is ferrying sand in hundreds of trucks every day from the Banas river near Deoli-Aancher, Shivad, Baroni and Boli villages.

An official source in the mining department said, “The illegal mining activity has increased manifold after the Supreme Court put a blanket ban. The mafia is blatantly violating the apex court order and excavating sand from the river bed. The mafia is being shielded by the police, district administration and mining officials who receive their share from the illegal business.”

TOI found that local residents and mafia were illegally mining sand during the day and hoarding it on private land. The stock is loaded into trucks in the evening. These trucks are meticulously covered and taken to the grey market, where they are allegedly sold at an exorbitant price. “Everyone gets a share. The sand is been sold at Rs 2,500 a tonne since the ban has been imposed,” the source added.

When ed, station house officer (SHO) Heera Lal, Baroni police station, claimed that trucks and other vehicles have been seized in the recent past. “We have conducted raids at various places and seized trucks and loaders. We have received reports that illegal mining is still going on at a few other places. We will raid those places too,” the SHO added.

In February, the extended the sand mining ban in the state till March 23 and issued a notice to the state government and the Union ministry of forest and environment (MoEF) for its planned move to mine sand from agricultural land.

While expressing concern over rampant from river beds in several parts of the country, a bench comprising justices and asked the Centre whether it had a policy to curb this practice.

The court also observed that illegal sand mining may lead to the drying up of rivers. The top court’s observation came during the hearing on a batch of matters related to sand mining in Rajasthan.

The state government had informed the court that 19 out of 82 sand mine leases in Banas River had received environmental clearance following the replenishment study submitted by the Mo-EF, but it failed to convince the court.

Last year, the SC had restrained 82 large lease holders from mining sand in the state. The court banned the mining of sand and ‘bajri’ until agencies completed a scientific replenishment study and MoEF granted clearance after considering the matter fully and dispassionately.

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