For Immediate Release
2nd June, 2013 *


*Two workers die in illegal sand mine in the Narmada Valley: Two more
serious *


*NBA demands comprehensive inquiry: Complete halt to the illegal activity**
** *

*Badwani:* In another shocking incident, two young wage labourers Bhanu S/o
Fathu and Jeevan S/o Vishram succumbed today on the spot in the illegal
sand mines in village Pendra, Tehsil and Dist Badwani, after being crushed
under the huge sand boulders. Two other labourers, Mendubai, widow of
Rajendra and Girdhari are hospitalized and are in a critical condition in
the ICU, after getting seriously wounded when the sandy hillocks and
eroding adjacent land slided, sinking the labourers for more than half an

The inquiry into the deaths by the police administration is obviously not
smooth while the illegal mining mafia is trying hook and crook to hush–hush
the matter and push the incident under the carpet. As per the brave and
candid statement of Mendu bai, not less than 300 to 400 workers were
working at the bottom of the huge mining pit, 40 feet deep, at the time of
the incident. The rains had made the sand walls brittle on all the four
sides and suddenly there was a massive slide. She and three others from her
own village, Raswa, Tehsil Kasravad, Dist Khargone, couldn’t run away while
others did and came under the heavy sand, resulting in the mishap. They
could be removed only after half an hour during which the death and wounds
occurred. Reportedly, the main contractor, Mr. Suresh Patel and his two
sons from village Kundia, had paid lakhs of rupees to Raju Jalal for
excavation of the land for sand. Earlier in the day, Medha Patkar and a few
activists visited the labourers admitted at the hospital and also the spot
at Village Pendra where the incident had occurred.

The adjacent land of Champalal Awasya and his brothers (Raju’s cousins),
other lands belonging to Mohan, Bherusing and his father Rukhadiya have
also been sold, while they are either yet to get land or have been
entangled in the fake registry scam. However, some of such land owner
oustees, along with the politician-bureaucrat-contractors nexus have earned
lakhs of ruppes in this illegal mine game, that is going on in village
after village in the Narmada valley, in the very lands that have been
acquired for or are adjacent to the lands acquired for the Sardar Sarovar
Project by the Narmada Valley Development Authority.

The Rehabilitation Officer, SSP, Badwani, has clearly stated in his letter
dated 14-05-2013 that the NVDA has never given a No-Objection Certificate
to the sand mining on the lands acquired for the SSP. The entire mining
activity is illegal since it violates the provisions of the Narmada Water
Disputes Tribunal Award that stipulate that the lands acquired can be used
only for the purposes of submergence and not otherwise. In spite of the
fact that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has categorically directed that no sand
mining leases or renewal of leases can be given without approval of the
Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Badwani Collector has given
an illegal three – month extension from the sand mines, from April, 2013.

Little action has been taken to arrest this illegal activity despite dozens
of complaints from numerous villages. NBA demands a complete halt to the
illegal sand mining as also the auction and lease process, and demands a
comprehensive inquiry into all such incidents that have been occurring time
and again, as also a detailed environmental impact assessment of the
activity that has been undertake thus far.

*Meera Mukesh
Kamla Yadav *

*Ph: *09826811982