UP’s ban on sand mining causing illegal excavation in MP: Ajay Singh

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Mar 2017 12:09:52

By Anshuman Bhargava & Rajan Raikwar,

Newly-appointed Leader of Opposition in State Assembly and seasoned Congress leader Ajay Singh holds deep concern over illegal sand mining being carried out in various parts of Madhya Pradesh. He is clear that illegal sand mining is posing threat to the future of rivers.
Ajay Singh feels that illegal tree felling has also resulted in a sharp decline in the forest cover of State.
Speaking exclusively to ‘The Hitavada’, Ajay Singh revealed that illegal sand mining activities have increased in Madhya Pradesh after ban on sand mining in Uttar Pradesh.

“Despite laid out clear norms why the Madhya Pradesh government has not been able to stop illegal sand mining?” he questioned. There are clear guidelines that vehicles particularly JCB machines, poclain and trucks used in sand mining should have a bar code so that their movement can be tracked using GPS technology.
“Why this norm is not being followed?” he asked. Singh was of the view that sand mining is also being carried out in forest sanctuary areas, putting pressure on the rivers which may lead them to change their course in future. When questioned that whether illegal mining is also leading to unemployment to locals, Ajay Singh said that the laid down norms stresses for manual excavation and prohibits trucks from going till river bank. Currently, poclain machines are being used to dig the river bed for sand excavation and heavy vehicles are reaching on the banks of the rivers. He emphasised that sand mining should be done in a proper way. Speaking about legal sand mining done in Madhya Pradesh, Singh said that it is beyond his understanding as to why only a few people are controlling most of the mines?

When asked whether illegal mining is also leading to depletion in forest cover, Singh said that illegal sand mining is a small reason and it is mostly illegal tree feeling which is proving bane to forest cover in State.

Citing an example he said that from Ladkui till Sehore, once there was thick forest cover but now trees are seen only on road side and rest of the forest has disappeared. Commenting on tigers frequently spotted on the outskirts of Bhopal, the senior leader said that path from Ratapani till Kolar is actually a natural corridor of tigers and due to decline in forest cover the big cats are coming out to the areas of human habitat. He also rubbished the State Government’s claim that agriculture growth rate is more than 20 per cent. “If it is so then why it is not getting reflected in GDP and why farmers are committing suicide. The claim of Government regarding agricultural growth rate needs to be given a serious thought,” he added.