IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


7th September, 2022 Geography

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  • Yamuna is dying due to sand mining, say locals in Haryana.


Sand Mining

  • Sand mining is the extraction of sand, mainly through an open pit (or sand pit) but sometimes mined from beaches and inland dunes or dredged from ocean and river beds.

Impact of Sand Mining:

  • Salinity:Depletion of sand in the river bed causes the deepening of rivers and estuaries, and the enlargement of river mouths, which leads to saline water intrusion.
  • River erosion:The excess extraction of sand affects the normal course of the river. Any variation in the course of the river will either lead to river erosion in a few areas or will lead to flooding during monsoon.
  • Affect Fishing industry:Due to rampant sand mining and ecological imbalance, fishing activity has declined in the Manguluru and fishermen are forced to take up alternative jobs outside their village.
  • Loss of tree cover: Trees that come under the buffer zone are felled to facilitate the movement of vehicles to collect sand from the riverside.
  • Affect species diversity:Sand mining during the monsoons affects the fish species as they lay eggs in the shores. Crabs, fishes has declined drastically at the coast of Karnataka.

Cases related to sand mining in NGT in 2021


Date of NGT order





Jeypore, Orissa

Related to illegal sand mining in Kharsrota river, Jeypore, Odisha. Illegal mining damaged the river bed and environment.



Paschim Bardhaman, West Bengal

Related to illegal sand mining carried out on the river bed of river Ajay within blocks Jamuria and Barbani. 



Jaipur, Rajasthan

Minerals mined in villages of Jaipur district. At least 15 mines do informal and destructive mining around the villages. Such activity impacts houses, agricultural fields and health of the people.



Sonipat, Haryana

Action was taken by the NGT against illegal mining. DSP Associates, Sonipat, had diverted the natural flow of river by digging a man-made pit 20 foot deep and made a bund to stop the natural river flow.



Paschim Bardhaman , West Bengal

The NGT had directed the district magistrate of Paschim Bardhaman to file affidavit providing information regarding the details of mining area, extent of illegal sand mining, quantity, duration of mining, name of the persons carrying out the mining activity and the loss of revenue due to illegal sand mining.
The NGT directed the committee to compute environmental compensation and restore the environment.



Jaipur, Orissa

Mechanical excavators to mine sand used during monsoon in violation of Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016 and Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020.

Illegal sand mines are everywhere.


Steps to tackle Sand Mining:

  • Legal course:Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) empowers state governments to make rules for regulating the grant of mineral concessions in respect of minor minerals and for purposes connected therewith.
  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016.
  • Grant of Environment Clearance for minor minerals, including sand and gravel, for mining lease of area up to 5 hectare will be done by the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority headed by the District Collector / District Magistrate.
  • Several states have formed their own rules to regulate sand mining.

Final Thought

  • Environment ministry guidelines are often not enforced. These guidelines are just advisory in nature. A strong political will is required for this critical business to be sustainable.
  • Several cases against illegal sand mining are pending with the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
  • The current system has not been fruitful and powerful in helping the circumstances. The current mechanism needs to be revised for effective monitoring of sand and rock mining.
  • Environment ministry guidelines are often not enforced. These guidelines are just advisory in nature. A strong political will is required for this critical business to be sustainable.
  • Strong governance is needed to address the issue.
  • India is progressing on the technological front, and lot of progress has taken place in remote monitoring as well as surveillance in the field of mining. Hence, it is only reasonable to use technological progression to keep an effective check on mining activities, especially sand mining, in the country.