15 arrested for sand mining on Yamuna riverbed near Noida
A joint team of officials from the Gautam Budh Nagar district administration, police and Uttar Pradesh pollution control board on Monday arrested 15 persons for illegal sand mining on the Yamuna riverbed. They also seized 15 tractors, three earth movers, two grinders, two motorbikes and an SUV.
Officials of the joint team said they arrested these 15 persons from the stone crushing units that are operational along the Yamuna riverbed in the villages of Rampur Khadar, Asgarpur, and Agahpur Jahangir.
In November 2015, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had banned sand mining on the Yamuna after a plea alleged that private firms were engaged in the activity and a temporary bridge was made on the river obstructing its natural flow. The plea said the illegal sand mining was damaging the river, especially the stretch that falls in Gautam Budh Nagar district.
Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate BN Singh said, “I had inspected areas along the riverbed and found these units operational. On Monday morning, around 6, our teams from different departments arrested a total of 15 persons and seized vehicles use for illegal mining, machines for crushing stones, and other construction material which were causing pollution.”
The police arrested seven persons from Rampur Khadar and eight from Asgarpur area where stone-crushing activities are underway in violation of the direction of the NGT, officials said. The green tribunal has prohibited such activities as they cause pollution and damage the river’s ecosystem.
Noida is connected to the river Yamuna by a 26km embankment road that starts from Noida’s Sector 94 near Kalindi Kunj barrage (on Delhi-Noida border) till Sector 150 near the Noida-Greater Noida border. This embankment road provides smooth connectivity from Yamuna riverbed to various areas in Noida.
Incentivised by this connectivity, the sand mafia have set up stone-crushing and hot mix plants along the riverbed without permission.
The illegal mining of sand not only causes damage to the flora and fauna in the river Yamuna but also pollutes the residential areas located next to this embankment road. Heavy vehicles, such as trucks and dumpers, ply on this road and along the residential areas.
“The private contractors and developers use the Yamuna riverbed to mix their construction material in violation of all norms. Though the action is late and too small, the officials must act strictly and shut down all such illegal activities as it causes huge damage to the river,” environmentalist Vikrant Tongad said.
The district magistrate said he has decided to book the 15 arrested persons under the UP Goonda Act so that others can also be discouraged from indulging in illegal sand mining and stone crushing on the floodplains without any approval.
“Our drive will continue to check the stone-crushing activities and illegal sand mining. We have already shut down the hot mix plants. These persons also run stone-crushing units and mine sand from the Yamuna riverbed. Most people involved in these activities are from Haryana,” BN Singh said.
Previous cases of sand mining
Jan 8, 2018: Three arrested from Milak village for mining sand
Feb 24, 2017: Four police teams searched the villages of Murshadpur, Atta Gujran, Jaganpur and Afzalpur and arrested 11 people involved in sand mining. Five dumpers, one earth mover and other equipment were also seized
Feb 14, 2017: The Gautam Budh Nagar district administration and the police, in a joint operation, arrested 11 persons on charges
of mining sand from the floodplains of river Yamuna in villages of Murshadpur, Jaganpur and Atta Gujran
Dec 28, 2016: Twelve people booked for allegedly attacking a tehsildar and two other officials when they tried to stop mining in Asgarpur village, Sector 135.