Following a furore over illegal sand mining,triggered by the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal by the UP government,the West Bengal government has now ordered to shut down 30 illegal sand mines and issued instructions to all the district magistrates to prepare a status report on the activities of all the 248 sand mines operating in the state.
Announcing this at Writers Buildings Wednesday,Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said that the states existing law on sand mining,enacted by the Left Front government in 2002,will be amended as there were several loopholes in the Act leading to the rise of sand mafia.
On August 5,I had written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stressing the need to amend the law as a strong sand mining mafia,patronised by the previous Left Front government,has come in the state. The chief minister agreed and has instructed the chief secretary to look into it. The chief secretary has now convened a meeting to see this can be done at the earliest, the minister said.
According to the minister there was no provision of imprisonment in the old law,something that need to be incorporated.
Later,talking to The Indian Express,Banerjee said that most of the 248 sand mines in the state are illegal and it was the sand mining mafia,which financed the Left Fronts election funds. Many of the sand mines that have mushroomed on the banks of the rivers Damodar and Roopnarayanpur are in the hands of the sand mafia controlled by the CPM. We will shut all such mines that do not have valid papers, the minister said.