An environment committee chaired by the Morena collector has given its nod to sand mining at three sites along the Chambal river in the district – a move officials said would help curb illegal mining.
The state government had granted power to the committee to give permission for legal excavation of sand from the banks of Chambal.
The panel, headed by collector Vinod Kumar Sharma, legalised sand mining at Sabalgarh, Jaura and Porsa areas, which are out of the purview of Chambal sanctuary. All the three sites – registered as private lands – have sand worth about `1 crore each, said a mining officer.
“Near the Chambal river, there are many such mining sites which are banned after the apex court order, but they won’t put any negative effect on the sanctuary. The land owners had made a request to legalise the sale of sand present on their agricultural land. The team visited the area and permitted them to sell the sand in the market,” Sharma said.
Two policemen have been killed and many government officials injured in attacks by the sand mining mafia in Morena over the last decade.
Forest and district administration officials were demanding the legalisation of sand mining in areas where the activity wouldn’t affect Chambal sanctuary. With the legalisation of the mining sites, a problem of illegal sand mining will be resolved to some extent as the rate of sand will come down, they said.
Now, one trolley of legally mined sand will cost about Rs 1,000, as against Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 at which the mafia was selling it.
In 2006, the Supreme Court had imposed a ban on sand mining in the Chambal River to protect flora and fauna of the sanctuary. But, even after the ban, the excavation of sand continued in Morena. Illegal mining is rampant in about 40 out of 170 villages in the district.
In March 2012, IPS officer Narendra Kumar was mowed down by a tractor allegedly owned by an illegal miner.
Morena superintendent of police Vineet Khanna said, “The legalisation of mines is a very good decision. It will definitely curb illegal sand mining in the district and crimes related to it.”
Two dozen applications are still pending with the committee, which will take a call after checking the facts and claims of miners that these sites don’t fall under Chambal sanctuary.