Do you have a policy to stop illegal sand mining, SC asks Centre

The Supreme Court today expressed concern over rampant illegal sand mining in several parts of the country and asked the Centre whether it had a policy to curb this practice.

A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta referred to the situation of rivers like Ganga and Yamuna and said if illegal sand mining was not stopped, it might lead to drying up of the rivers.

"You cannot say that just because you want to construct a house, you will mine sand. Do you have a policy for it (to stop illegal sand mining)," the bench asked the counsel representing the government.

"Tomorrow, they will also start mining in river Ganga and Yamuna. It (rivers) will dry up. You cannot do this. You must have some alternative for this," the bench observed.

The top court's observation came during the hearing of a batch of matters related to sand mining in Rajasthan.

The bench also questioned the Centre's counsel on how sand mining was done in other countries.

During the hearing, when one of the lawyers claimed that sand mining was going on even on agricultural land, the bench said "how can anyone do illegal sand mining like this? What the government is doing?"

The bench posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.

The apex court had earlier stayed illegal sand mining activities on river beds in Rajasthan.

One of the petitioners had alleged in the top court that Rajasthan government had earlier allowed 82 lease holders to carry out the sand mining activities without getting the prescribed clearances.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)