Police seize 4,000 tonnes of sand mined from gharial sanctuary

There have been four attacks by the sand mafia on State Armed Forces' jawans protecting the Chambal river banks in the last three months, says Madhya Pradesh police

By Anupam Chakravartty
Published: Tuesday 13 May 2014

Madhya Pradesh police on Sunday seized over 4,000 tonnes of illegally mined sand in the state. The sand, which was dumped at a farm in Morena district’s Nagra village, was mined from the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is situated on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The raid comes at a time when sand mafia in the state has been repeatedly attacking police personnel, forest guards and State Armed Forces' (SAF) jawans. Police officials say attacks by the sand mafia intensified after 2012 when IPS officer Narendra Singh was crushed to death in broad daylight by a tractor loaded with illegally mined stone when he tried to stop it.

“We have recorded four attacks by the sand mafia on SAF jawans protecting the Chambal river banks in the last three months,” says D S Sagar, inspector general of police (Chambal Range). As a result, Gwalior bench of Bhopal High Court ordered additional forces in and around the park. 

Read more on illegal sand mining

Sand mining: a deep-rooted nexus 

So far, the police have filed 23 cases against 600-odd people for illegal mining since 2012 in Morena district alone. The police, however, have arrested only 29 people.

Local activists say politicians support the mining activity. “Everyone who works in this industry is always armed and dangerous. They spare no one. In Morena town, their tractors and trucks drive recklessly and several accidents have happened in the past,” says Morena resident Asha Singh, who has been working on the issues related to mining.

Police officials say the sand mafia takes the advantage of Morena being located close to the Uttar Pradesh border.

Order: Order of the National Green Tribunal on mining activity on the banks of rivers dated 05/08/2013

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