Action ordered against cops not curbing illegal sand mining in Goa
The Bombay high court at Goa has slammed the authorities for failing to crack down on illegal sand mining and ordered police patrolling, seizure and destruction of canoes and impounding of trucks that transport the sand while observing that the authorities were ever ready to be hoodwinked.
“Despite several orders, illegal sand mining activity continues… The authorities, who were duty-bound to prevent this sand mining, do not appear to be seriously interested in implementing the orders made by us from time to time. According to us, the persons involved in illegal sand mining are out to hoodwink the authorities. Unfortunately, we find that in many cases even the authorities appear to be too eager to be hoodwinked,” the high court bench of justices M S Sonak and M S Jawalkar, said.
The court said that the police authorities, in particular, are most lax when it comes to preventing illegal and unauthorized sand mining. “The director general of police (DGP) must issue strict instructions to the concerned police stations to render all possible cooperation to the authorities taking steps to prevent illegal sand mining. The DGP should also issue strict instructions to all the concerned police stations to attend to the complaints about illegal sand mining, promptly,” the court said.
It added that there were instances of cops simply refusing to come to the illegal mining sites and directed the DGP to take action against such police officials who indulge in dereliction of duties.
The high court said two sites were ‘hotspots’ of sand mining and directed the authorities to install CCTVs there within 15 days as well as place police personnel round the clock.
Goa’s estuarine rivers are hotspots for sand mining as sand from upstream is deposited in areas where the fresh water meets the sea, leading to siltation and the natural formation of sand banks, which are then dredged by the sand miners.
However, the miners have been dredging in other areas as well, causing the banks of rivers to collapse, resulting in loss of agricultural land and destruction of crops. In the case of one of the hotspots under a river bridge, the dredging is posing a threat to the foundation of the bridge itself, the high court observed.
The court also said that seized canoes are to be “kept at a secured location, away from the river banks.”
“These canoes have no good reason to remain parked on the government property. The government also has no good reason to permit such canoes to be parked on its property, particularly when these properties appear to be hot-spots for illegal sand mining,” the HC said.