In order to check illegal mining of sand and augment its availability at cheaper prices, the Madhya Pradesh government has readied a plan to de-notify an area of 100 sq km at Son Ghariyal sanctuary in Sidhi district and National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, Morena. Both the sanctuaries are known for Ghariyal habitat for other wild-life.
“District collectors and district forest officers have identified areas where breeding activities of Ghariyal or their presence is not visible for years. A proposal would be sent to the state wildlife board to de-notify it. Since illegal mining takes place in these areas, de-notification of these areas would not only protect nearby wildlife habitat but would also increase availability of sand quantity in the state,” Shivshekhar Shukla, secretary, department of mineral resources told BS.
State mining minister Rajendra Shukla had told BS recently that the government is working on the plan and sought permission to de-notifty the area in both the sanctuaries. However well-placed officials in the state forest department told BS, “It would not be easier to de-notify these sanctuaries since it is a lengthy process to get it de-notify from state wildlife board and national wildlife board.”
State government has recently launched its sand mining policy under which it has covered all those areas where mining takes place but the areas have not been identified either by the State Mining Corporation or district administration.
“Such areas attract illegal mining activities and create law and order problem. The new mining policy would leave no unattended area where sand mining is possible or reportedly takes place,” Shukla said.
Illegal mining of sand and stones is rampant in Gwalior-Chambal region. Two incidences of killing of police personnel drew national attention in recent past in the region.
Chambal sanctuary, Morena and Son Ghariyal sanctuary have a variety of aquatic life, such as the elusive Ganges river dolphin, crocodile (Muggar), Gharial (Gavelia Gangeticus), freshwater turtles and fishes.