Indian politician denounces illegal sand mining

Sushil Kumar Modi, the former Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister of the Bihar state in eastern India, said Friday that illicit sand mining and trade were happening in the region, taking millions away from the public coffers.

According to The Indian Express, Kumar Modi declared that the illegal activities were taking place with the blessing of the police and the mining and transport departments who, in his view, are protecting “vested interests.”

“There is illicit sand mining taking place from Sone river across a dozen districts in breach of the NGT (National Green Tribunal) ban on it … Hundreds of trucks carrying sand make underhand payment of Rs 6000 [+/- US$90] on each vehicle to the local police to carry sand for illicit trade,” he stated in a press release.

Illegal sand mining has been an issue in the South Asian country for more than three years. Experts say that well-established mafias control these activities and turn the blind eye to regulations that ban the extractive practice from creeks and beaches.

Sand mining, commonly carried out by the concrete industry, has also been reported to be an environmental threat that fills nearby rivers with sediment, reducing oxygen levels for fish and plants.