The Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate NP Singh on Monday night, along with district police officials, launched an offensive against the growing sand mafia in the region.
Singh led a team of police, transport and revenue officials to catch those who are involved in illegal mining of sand from the flood plains of Yamuna. Sand mining affects the ecology of a river and is a lucrative business for those involved in it.It is the first time that an IAS of ficer has led a team to catch the sand mafia in a district. Even young IAS Durga Shakti Nagpal, who shot to fame in 2013 for her brave moves against the sand mafia, didn’t go herself, officials said.
DM Singh himself went in a private car to verify whether mining was on in the Yamuna flood plains. He was shocked to see many dumpers ferry sand in the blanket of darkness. He was furious to see that and pulled up all concerned officials, including the police.
After the DM’s directives, Noida police on Monday night seized 25 dumpers from various areas including Phase 2, Phase 3 and Sector 49 areas.
The police also arrested five persons in connection to this and lodged FIRs against them under respective sections of IPC.
On Tuesday, the Noida police conducted a drive and seized 30 dumpers ferrying sand.
Right after taking charge as the district magistrate on February 6, Singh began taking the sand mafia head on.
In just two days after assuming office, he had got 52 dumpers seized from the mafia. He had also seized 60,000 cubic metres of sand, worth more than Rs. 1 crore.
“I have issued penalties to those involved in mining 60,000 cubic metres of sand. The government will recover nearly Rs. 1 crore out of the penalty alone. My motto is simple - to stop sand mining, come what may.
I’ll punish even those whose land is being used to hoard sand,” the DM said. Sand mining has been a profitable business for mafias in Noida and Greater Noida for over a decade because of boom in the realty sector.
Concerned with damage that sand mining does to rivers, locals have filed petitions with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and have asked the local administration to take appropriate actions.
“We hope the new DM may bring about some chang e and stop sand mining,” said Mahesh Saxena of Noida Lokmanch, the organisation that filed the petition with NGT.