Mobile squads to check illegal sand mining soon

Shaken out of its slumber by a green court’s rap, the Delhi administration is now gearing up to depute mobile squads on the Yamuna banks to check illegal sand mining. 

As part of a larger plan to save the polluted Yamuna, the environment department has sent a proposal to the office ofChief Secretary D M Spolia for building watch towers and constituting mobile squads. 

“The menace of sand mining is more serious in north and northeast areas,” said an official, hinting that the river bank monitoring mechanism will be launched from the Wazirabad area.  

The concerns of the government officials is more visible after the National Green Tribunal took note of the deterioration of the bio-diversity in ecosystems linked to the Yamuna.  An official said sand mining from river bed reduces its potential to recharge groundwater.

The Delhi administration is planning to plug the access of sand mafia vehicles to the riverbed by taking action against farmers whose land is misused by the sand mafia trucks.  “We are in touch with the revenue department, which maintains the land records, for taking coordinated action against sand mining,” said an official. 

It is suspected that builders in the national capital region are exploiting the Yamuna bed to procure cheap sand for their projects, sources said. 

“A large part of the demand for sand in Delhi and other towns is met from the Yamuna bed,” said an official.

Environmentalists have warned that the illegal mining of sand could also alter the course of the river. 

Officials said in the proposal sent to the Chief Secretary, they have talked about setting up check-posts in the areas which are used by trucks, tractors and ox-carts to reach the riverbed. 

While the final composition of the flying squads is still not known, officials said police may also be involved in action that will include manpower from environment, revenue and mining departments of the administration.

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