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November 20, 2017

Illegal sand mining: One more cop crushed to death


Lalit Shastri

illegal sand mining

Illegal sand mining (Representative photo by Lalit Shastri)

A dumper carrying illegally mined sand crushed to death a police constable in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh in the early hours on Sunday.

This is the second gory incident linked with the sand mining mafia that has extinguished the life of one more policeman in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier in March 2012, young 2009 batch Indian Police Service officer Narendra Kumar was crushed to death when he was trying to stop a tractor trolley transporting illegally mined stones at Barmor in Morena district. He was the Barmor SDOP.

This time, the police constable was mowed to death while trying to stop a truck carrying illegally mined sand from the Chambal River.

Constable Dharmendra Chouhan

Constable Dharmendra Chouhan

According to available information, Constable Dharmendra Chouhan was on patrol and had gone to a village under the Noorabad police area late Saturday night after Police had received information that a gang involved in a loot was hiding there. Around midnight, he spotted a dumper parked along the road and as he approached the truck, the driver put the ignition on and started moving the truck. Dharmendra refused to allow him to go and held on to the driver’s door. The driver went in the reverse gear at great speed and the truck fell into a ditch crushing the police constable to death.

Several years ago, in October 2006, when I had gone to investigate the extent of illegal mining in the Chambal river, It was found that A 15-km stretch of sandy bank starting from the Chambal bridge on National Highway 3 connecting Madhya Pradesh with Rajasthan, which has remained an ideal breeding ground for the endangered Gharial for millions of years, was subject to reckless illegal mining of sand. The picturesque Bhanpur Rest House overlooking the Chambal river near the bridge had been taken over completely by the sand mining mafia and there was never ending movement of tractor trolleys to dump the illegally mined sand within the State Public Works Department-owned premises.

Tigri Rithora along Chambal River (Representative photo by Lalit Shastri)

Tigri Rithora along Chambal River (Representative photo by Lalit Shastri)

On going 15 km downstream to Tigri Rithora in the afternoon (October 2016), there were some labourers illegally filling a tractor with sand. When the accompanying forest guards confronted these people, a large mob descended from a nearby mound and one of them was even carrying a shot gun. Before anyone could be attacked one chose to leave the spot in a speedboat anchored nearby.

After the young IPS officer Narendra Kumar’s death under tragic circumstances, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had told me in an exclusive interview (April 29, 2012) that his government’s special focus has been on infrastructure development on a large scale and during his regime the demand for stones, boulders, sand and morrum in Madhya Pradesh has risen within a short span of time. He particularly pointed out how building thousands of kilometres of new roads or 4-laning of existing roads has been an exercise that has involved massive digging of earth and soling with stones and boulders. Consequently official clearances have been given for mining in so many cases and what is visible on the surface to the naked eye is not always illegal, the chief minister pointed out. While denying the existence of any mining mafia in the state, Mr. Chouhan had pointed to “some big fishes”. He had particularly cited the example of a Congress leader from the Bundelkhand area, bordering Uttar Pradesh, and said the Government is aware of the magnitude of the problem and everything is being done by the state authorities to curb the menace of illegal mining.

 

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