TURA, Jan 17 � The Meghalaya Government�s alleged reluctance to ban sand mining has come under criticism. While the Supreme Court itself has supported the ban in the light of the rampant excesses in the business and the effect it has on the environment, the State Government seem insulated to the reality.
The effects of sand mining are there for all to see. It widens the river banks leading to flooding. The rising river beds mean that water evaporates faster leaving the land parched, where normally the river would have been full. People living near the banks have had to evacuate houses as their land gets taken over by the river during the monsoons.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, however, asserts that he did not wish to dislocate people whose livelihoods depend on sand mining. He said it was linked to migration and would also lead to increased crimes. Talking at the launch of the Green Mission under IBDLP recently, Dr Sangma had said, �We are ashamed of listening to reports of so many crimes, specially against women and children. Why is it happening? It is happening because of lot and lots of migration of people is taking place�, he observed.
The CM, has proposed an alternative to the ban by saying that sand mining needs to be regulated. The question that is most pertinent is � where are the regulations?
It is true that sand mining can be regulated, but the mechanism needs to be put in place fast. Action needs to be taken now before irreparable damage is done to the eco-system. While the Government has been drawing a lot of flak for the inaction in terms of environmental protection, the people who live off the land have no other alternative than to continue destroying the environment.
Going by the pace of the current development scenario, the ban on sand mining or even regulation will take time. The approach has to change if the government is really concerned about climate change, experts say.