RIVER SAND MINING
Recent news: The High Court of Karnataka has upheld the order of the Department of Mines and Geology prohibiting sand extraction from rivers during rainy season. It observed that the ban was incorporated into the law for protecting the environment.
What was the case :
- Court rejected the plea of petitioner who had a lease for sand extraction in Chamarajanagar district for a period of five years
- The petitioner had questioned the decision of the Deputy Director, Department of Mines and Geology, Chamarajanagar, prohibiting sand extraction from June 5 to October 15 every year. The petitioner contended that his mining lease did not contain a condition of sand extraction being prohibited during monsoon.
- However, the Bench agreed with the contention of the government that the Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1994, and the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016, clearly prohibit river sand mining during rainy season.
- The court also pointed out that the legislature was conscious of the fact that the period of actual quarrying operations could be affected by rains or floods, and had therefore provided the sand quarrying permission for up to five years, inclusive of the non-quarrying periods such as rainy season, floods, and natural calamities. In Karnataka, the period between June 5 and October 15 is considered rainy season, the Bench noted.
Harmful effects of Mining in monsoon :
Sand regulates a river’s flow, floodplains store water, recharge ground water, filter pollutants, allows aquatic life to thrive. When sand is taken out, water tables sink, rivers dry up, change course, banks collapse, floodplains get pitted with ponds, silt chokes rivers, vegetation and habitats get destroyed, dust pollution kicks in.