Times of India
Illegal sand mining seen in places beyond Navi Mumbai
Vijay Singh,TNN | Jun 15, 2014, 12.49 AM IST
NAVI MUMBAI: After the raid by the Navi Mumbai police last week on illegal sand mining, in which five barges were seized and 18 persons arrested, environmentalists have noticed heightened sand mining and dredging operations in neighbouring areas of the city.
"While we appreciate the quick response shown by the Navi Mumbai police last week, we have now learnt that the action has shifted to other coastal areas in Raigad and Thane rural to avoid similar raids," said Sumaira Abdulali of the NGO Awaaz Foundation.
Awaaz Foundation was the main petitioner in the case against illegal sand mining in the National Green Tribunal, which had recently issued its final order banning the use of heavy-duty machines to dredge or mine sand.
"On June 10, we noticed the use of suction pumps in the Vasai creek in Thane (rural). We have gathered that illegal sand mining is still taking place in parts of Raigad, such as Roha and Mahad. What we need is that the concerned authorities must regularly patrol the coastal areas to stop this rampant degradation of wetlands," said Abdulali.
She has now complained to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority and also the Maharashtra Maritime Board, Navi Mumbai, about this issue and urged them to take immediate action.
"I have also mentioned in my complaint that several trucks were seen ferrying the sand from CRZ areas after 6pm, which is again a violation of the court orders," Abdulali stated in her formal complaint.
Awaaz Foundation has urged for a similar confiscation of boats and suction pumps, as was done in Navi Mumbai recently.
Meanwhile, this Wednesday the state revenue minister, Balasaheb Thorat, said in the legislative assembly, that a bar-coding system will be implemented all over the state to check illegal sand mining.
Now, only the Pune and Solapur use the bar-code system to keep a track of where the sand supplies are coming from. The bar-coded slips even have the details of the truck or tempo drivers ferrying the sand.
However, environmentalists feel that beside such technical implementations, manual and regular checks in coastal areas are the most effective way to stop the brazen degradation of nature.