Illegal Sand Mining Sabotages Environment

Illegal sand mining along the Gomti river destroys farmland in Uttarakhand.
About the video:  Farmers from the Telihat village are losing their fertile fields because of illegal sand mining along the embankments of Gomti river. The large-scale extraction of sand leads to erosion of channel banks and uncontrolled flooding of the fields. Without the embankment, the fields of wheat, pulses and potatoes fall apart. Flood drains the minerals from the soil. As a result, the farmers production deminishes.

The Community Correspondent says: Vipin Joshi, India Unheard Community Correspondent from Telihat village says: “Literally most of the embankment has been destroyed already and this leaves our farmland unprotected. Our community as well as the government needs to take action quickly to avoid any more destruction of our most valuable source of water and food.”

The Issue: Illegal sand mining has far reaching impacts on the sensitive ecological river environment. Apart from land erosion it is a cause of fast depleting groundwater levels. Due to this, the river become increasingly dry. The farmers, who are depending on the river for irrigation will not be able to continue farming activities in the area. The communities along the Gomti river, who use the water for their daily meals, washing and drinking will have to find other
sources of water. Accessible and clean water is important for the health and well-being of the community and therefore needs to be guaranteed to everyone.

Call to Action: The farmers demand immediate action against illegal sand mining. The government needs to stop the mining activities and work out an adequate plan to avoid any further damage to the river beds and surrouding farmlands.

For an effective recovery of the river, fields and its people it is crucial to involve the miners in a participatory way along the project. Their rehabilitation will be the cornerstone to a successful project, creating a healthy and sustainable environment for the future.

Related Links:
Ministry of Finance: http://www.mof.gov.bd/en/
Ministry of Environment and Forest – Annual Report 2010-11:
moef.nic.in/report/1011/AR-Eng%20Vol2.pdf
Chronically Flood Affected Areas:
planningcommission.nic.in/reports/publications/pub80_cfaa.pdf
India Environmental Portal:
http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/category/thesaurus/river-pollution?page=14
Impacts of sand mining:
http://ponce.sdsu.edu/three_issues_sandminingfacts01.html