Ground Report | New Delhi: Sand Mining is not just a cause of destruction and disruption of the ecosystem and environment activities but also is a consequence of death for many individuals in ways of accidents, injuries, and avoidable violence. As per Sandrp, a report suggests 193 human deaths between January 2019 and November 2020 due to sand mining activities. To understand the severity of the matter, Sandrp has provided zonal wise information inclusive of North, East, West, and South. This zonal information is provided below for seeing the larger perspective.
Sand Mining in North Zone-
Starting off with the north zone approximately 136 people lost their lives and 181 suffered injuries as a result of riverbed mining and transportation activities from December 2020 to March 2022 which is the past 16 months. Most of the death 100 and injuries 130 have been due to road accidents due to sand transporting vehicles. Most of these deaths are of either youngsters or teenagers while a mine collapse at a mining site has injured 19 and killed 19. Total deaths as a consequence of sand mining activities have occurred in Uttar Pradesh with 92 deaths, Haryana with 14 deaths, and Uttarakhand with 21 deaths. Whereas thirty-three people consisting of reporters, civilians, and activists were attacked by sand mafias and suffered many injuries. Uttar Pradesh shares the biggest deaths related to mining accidents, injuries, and violent incidents.
Sand Mining in East- North East Zone-
Most deaths in the East zone have been a result of road accidents inclusive of sand delivery vehicles. 137 people have died and 156 people have suffered injuries due to sand mining activities during the period of 4 months. Bihar being the highest injury and death resulting rate due to sand mining with 76 people dying and 103 suffered injuries due to sand mining violence and accidents between the period of 1 year and 4 months from December 2020 to March 2022. In Northeast Assam and Manipur have been the sufferer as 9 people lost their lives, with 8 in Assam and 1 in Manipur.
Sand Mining in West Zone-
Sand mining in West Zone killed 72 people and 67 got injured in relation to violence and accidents somewhere between December 2020 and March 2021. About 17 children died drowning in sandpits while 16 people have either died due to sand collapses or accidents at mine sites. 42 government officials including police officers, forest officers, and mine workers have been killed by the sand mafia. Most of these deaths have taken place in Madhya Pradesh while nearly most of the road accidents related to sand mining have occurred in Gujrat which amounts to 21 followed by 11 in Madhya Pradesh and 9 in Rajasthan.
Sand Mining in South Zone
Data of the five south zone suggests 64 deaths and 30 injuries as a consequence of sand mining violence and accidents between December 2020 to March 2022. 47 people were killed while 9 were injured as a result of mining vehicle accidents. The main 3 states that largely contributed to the deaths and injuries due to sand mining activities with a combined total of 59 deaths 30 injuries are Telangana 21, Karnataka 19, and Tamil Nadu 19. 25 people mainly mineworkers died of mine collapse incidents and casualties in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. 7 people died in sand mines by drowning, and 6 of them died in Telangana. The south zone witnessed the murder of 8 people including 5 citizens, 1 activist, and 2 sand miners by the sand mafia.
In India between December 2020 and March 2022, 418 people have died while 434 sustained injuries as a result of sand mining-related violence, incidents, and accidents.51 deaths and 4 injuries were reported in relation to stone and soil mining incidents.
Trucks and sand transport vehicles proving to be a killer.
Road accidents largely occur with vehicles like tippers, trucker=s, hyvas, lorries, tractors, etc. As far as the data suggests it has taken the life of 294 people while leaving 221 people injured mostly severe injuries amounting to 70%. This is largely because of illegal mining, rash driving, overworked drivers, overloaded sand, overspeeding, and wrongly parked trucks. The accidents take place either in the late night or early mining
Death of workers in mining accidents
The above data suggest the number of deaths per zone but the reason behind these deaths is carelessness and illegal mining with a lack of safety equipment. The ones who suffer death and injuries belong to the economically weaker section of society such as tribals, and migrant laborers. In India, 95 people died due to the sand mining accidents while 35 in stone mining accidents.
Dams flooding mines while children are falling into sandpits-
The death of almost 24 engineering students occurred in Larji dam in Himachal Pradesh set an unfortunate example for many but still, most have not learned any. In the past, almost 300 mine workers drivers were rescued from similar accidents. Due to excessive mining, the pits become deeper and death traps for children, as 43 children have died due to drowning in deep sand pits. The children use these pits for playing and bathing but they’re unaware of the depth of the pit and often die on the spot
Sand Mafia being more powerful and violent than ever-
Even when the entire nation was in the midst of lockdown illegal sand mafia gangs grew stronger. 12 citizens and farmers were killed and 53 suffered injuries during the period between December 2020 and March 2021. Not just this, many were witnesses to gang violence and rivalry fighting resulting in the death of 5 members while 2 were killed in an encounter. The mob in some cases has turned violent and as a result of the outburst destroyed public and private properties. The most infected sand mafia places of all are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
In conclusion, there are several factors that amount to the death of mineworkers, civilians, government officials, activists, or anyone who’s related to illegal sand mining or is working for one. The major contributor includes sandpits, road accidents of vehicles carrying overloaded sand, drowning in floods, and many more. This is one of the greatest ordeal and cause of concern for the innocent lives that are lost for the sake of illegal money-making and mafia gangs.