For the Karnal district administration, solution to combat illegal sand mining lays in the air.
Authorities have roped in the Haryana Institute of Civil Aviation (HICA), near here, to keep an eye on such illegal activities on the river beds while flying with trainee commercial pilots.
In an order passed in August, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had banned mining of sand from river beds in the country and it had emerged as a challenge for the district authorities to execute it.
However, vast areas of the district on the banks of Yamuna river, seasonal rivulets and canals are prone to mining.
But, finding a solution to it, the HICA, located at Kulvehri village on the outskirts of the city, have been asked to report to the deputy commissioner directly in case of any mining spotted in the district.
“The institute undertakes flying during day and night and it may help us in nabbing the culprits. During their flying hours, the pilot keeps close watch on any presence of earth-removing machines, trucks and tractor trolleys near the riverbed,” deputy commissioner Vikas Yadav told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
He claimed that no mafia gang was active in the area and teams, headed by senior district officials, had been constituted to check any stray incidents of sand mining.
Yadav said that on August 14, the team had booked several persons found illegally excavating sand at Manglora village of the district.
However, the district officials said that certain low-lying areas in Indri subdivision were facing problems due to sudden increase in river bed on Yamuna that caused excessive deposits of sand.
Due to heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, the mineral inflow had increased and threat of floods loomed large in the several pockets of Indri.
“Villagers of the low-lying areas are complaining of deposits of river sand up to four feet in their fields, but the administration cannot permit them to remove. There is an apprehension that the permission to clean these fields would amount to contempt of NGT orders as the affected farmers would sell the excessive sand,” said a district official who wished not be identified.