Illegal sand mining on Kihim Beach near Mumbai eroding it, says NGO
Illegal sand mining at Kihim Beach, near Alibaug, has been going on unchecked for a decade and is leading to soil erosion and loss of tree cover, according to environmentalists.
City-based environmental organisation Awaaz Foundation on Monday filed a complaint with the Konkan commissioner and district administration of Raigad in this regard and attached week-old pictures of bullock carts transporting sand away from the beach.
“The entire beach is eroded with at least 10 decade-old trees uprooted across different ends,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation, which has filed six complaints in three years against illegal sand mining. “Despite repeated complaints, bullock carts continue to excavate sand in large quantities illegally during low tide, which has led to a drop in the level of sand, and the beach is now flat.”
Maharashtra recorded 26,628 cases of illegal mining last year, the highest across the country, according to data from the Ministry of Mines. This year, data up to June showed 2,751 cases. Between 2013 and 2018, 2,228 people were booked for illegal mining, one court case was filed, and 163,366 vehicles were seized. The fines collected for illegal mining over six years was ₹36,502 lakh.
Sand mining is a major environmental concern which may threaten the existence of over 70% of the world’s beaches, and also contribute to major land erosion, compromising water security, affecting climate and many more such fatal calamities, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
In 2014, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had banned sand mining in coastal regions of many states, including Maharashtra, identifying that it was harming the environment. In 2016, the ban was lifted in Maharashtra’s coastal districts of Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Thane, after the state government promised the NGT that it will ensure that mining will not affect the environment.
An official from the Raigad district collector’s office said circle officers had taken action at the site but offenders continue to return. “Sand is being used for construction in this region. We have confiscated bullock carts and all manual dredging equipment from this area several times this year but due to a shortage of manpower, we are unable to keep round the clock vigilance,” said Jagdish Patil, Konkan commissioner.
“However, we will be deputing local villagers to alert us about sand mining and in turn issue rewards. We will issue directions to the district collector to track and take action against alleged violators,” Patil said.
Mumbai witnessed heavy rainfall as commuters faced a hard time wading to waterlogged roads across the city on Tuesday. The Andheri subway, which connects east and west parts of the suburb, was closed for vehicular traffic and pedestrians due to waterlogging at about 7am. Commuters said that there was chaos and disorder on Mumbai roads throughout Tuesday morning due to incessant showers and heavy downpour.
Day after cabinet expansion, Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann allocated portfolios to his new ministers and rejigged the portfolios of other ministers in his government. Aman Arora, Inderbir Singh Nijjar, Chetan Singh Jouramajra, Aman Arora, Fauja Singh Sarari and Anmol Gagan Mann were sworn-in as ministers by governor Banwari Lal Purohit on Monday. Here is the complete list of ministers and their portfolios in the Bhagwant Mann government.
A tweet sharing unique 'no parking' signs in Bengaluru's posh Koramangala neighbourhood is now going viral on social media and has sparked a fresh debate over the age-old issue. These signs don't just say 'no parking' but proclaim 'don't even think of parking here', while another warns 'no parking… not for 10 minutes, not for 5 minutes, not at all!' The neighbourhood is a mix of commercial structures and bungalows.
A 1992-batch IPS officer, Gaurav Yadav, on Tuesday took charge as the officiating director general of police of Punjab after current state police head VK Bhawra proceeded on a two-month leave. Yadav was posted as special principal secretary to Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann. Counter-intelligence expert at the helm Yadav, who is the son-in-law of former Punjab DGP PC Dogra, is a counter-intelligence expert. Before applying for leave, DGP Bhawra had sought a central deputation.
Mumbai local train services were affected Tuesday as the city struggled with floods and waterlogging after heavy rainfall. Some delays were reported for local train services - the city's lifeline because over 75 lakh travel daily - on Central and Western Railway routes. At 10.30 am Central Railways' chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said some trains on the Main and Harbour lines were running late. All trains, however, were still running, he said.