The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, ordered an indefinite ban on sand mining in Narmada River on 22 May 2017.
The Minister made the announcement while addressing a press conference in the state’s capital, Bhopal. He stated that the ban on sand mining in river Narmada will hold till a government-appointed committee of experts submits its report on scientific mining in the river.
• The government-appointed committee would be led by Rajendra Shukla, the state’s Minister for Mineral Resources, Commerce and Industry.
• It would be working along with experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Kharagpur) in developing a blueprint for scientific ways of mining in the river.
• Its report would determine how much sand can be safely mined from the river without causing any damage to it.
• The committee is expected to take at least four to six months to come up with its suggestions for scientific mining.
• Only after the submission of the committee’s report, the government would be taking the decision on lifting the ban on sand mining in the Narmada.
The state government’s decision to ban sand mining in the river comes just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Union government’s comprehensive action plan to conserve river Narmada at its origin point in Amarkantak in the Anuppur district of MP.
The river, which originates from Amarkantak and travels over 1000 km across 16 districts of MP, is considered the lifeline of the state.
Besides this, the state’s CM has imposed a blanket ban on the use of all kinds of machines for mining from the remaining rivers in the state. To deal with the resulting sand scarcity, the government has decided to promote the use of manufactured sand, which can be made by crushing stone.
• The Madhya Pradesh state government led by CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had launched an ambitious five-month long Narmada Seva Yatra on 11 December 2016, which began from Narmada’s origin point in Amarkantak and ended on 15 May 2017.
• The campaign was an attempt to turn river conservation into a mass movement and it was hailed as an excellent movement by PM Modi.
• It was concluded after covering a distance of 3,344 km and passing through over 1,100 villages and towns.