Contrary to the claims of the state mining department, the sand mafia is flourishing in Uttar Pradesh.
The department carried out 2,767 raids in various districts and collected R7.72 crore in fines this year. It also lodged 39 FIRs. However, in their reports to the state government, the district magistrates have said sand mining continues unabated on non-leased lands with an active support of the police and mining department officers.
“Officials are shy of taking action against the sand mafia as they enjoy patronage from the ruling party members as well as officials of the district administration,” said a district magistrate, requesting anonymity.
The state government transferred nearly 800 IAS/IPS/PCS officers within a year, said an officer. He also said that “several of these officers were shunted on the directions of the mining mafia”.
Minister of State for mining (Independent Charge) Gayatrai Prasad Prajapti said the mining department has constituted a task force. However, Director (mining) Bhaskar Upadhyay said the mining department was facing an acute shortage of staff. At present there are only 10 mining officers and 31 inspectors.