Haridwar: Amidst outcry over Swami Nigamanand’s death, who gave up his life fasting against the quarrying in River Ganga, the Uttarakhand government has been unable to curb the illegal activity in the region.

The legal procedure involved to check such activities are making it difficult for the state government to tighten the noose around the guilty.

Evidently, there are at least 40 stone crushers in the Haridwar district and most of them are based on the banks of Ganga. Several trucks and cranes are also plundering the River bed.

Legal mining blocks

In addition to this, there are eight mining blocks of Gadhwal Mandal Vikaas Nigam (GMVN) operating on Haridwar Revenue Department’s land.

After  Swami’s death, Ajeetpur and Missapur blocks have been shut down whereas eight other blocks are still operating. Notably, GMVM gets a profit share of Rs 84 on per cubic metre.

Haridwar’s mining areas include Ajeetpur, Jagjeetpur, Rampur Raighati, Bishanpur Kundi, Misspur and several others surrounding the district which play perfect hosts to the mining mafias.

No action to halt mining

No legal action has yet been taken up so far to halt the mining work. The Revenue Department’s ongoing raids are unable to curb the illegal activities.

“To prevent the illegal mining, raids are being conducted by the administration from time to time but that too has proved futile. We are trying our best to stop the quarrying in the region,” District Magistrate of Haridwar R Meenakshi Sundaram said.

Jairam for action against sand mafia

While asking Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ to immediately intervene and stop the illegal mining in River Ganga, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday wrote a strongly worded letter to him.

Recently, Jairam also blamed Uttarakhand Government for the death of Swami Nigamanand, who died after a four-month fast protesting against sand mining in Ganga river bed.

Ramesh asked ‘Nishank’ to keep the Centre informed about the actions taken by the state.

"It is unfortunate that, in spite of my repeated requests, no effective step appears to have been taken by the state government to stop illegal river-bed sand mining," the Minister said referring to his earlier letter to Nishank on January 6, last year, asking him to take steps to end the activities of mining mafia.

He emphasized upon the fact that ongoing mining work is in violation of the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and pointed out that the powers to frame rules to control illegal mining have been delegated to state governments.

"I once again request you for your immediate intervention to stop the ongoing illegal river-bed sand mining particularly around Haridwar," Ramesh said in his letter.

Voicing his concern, Ramesh also said there is ‘huge public outcry’ over illegal river-bed sand mining taking place along the holy Ganga in Uttarakhand, particularly around Haridwar.