Traditional sand miners on Tuesday protested to the Vasai tehsildar’s office against the use of suction pumps. Over 4,000 men and women demanded a ban on suction pumps and action against pump users.
They say that the dredging has a negative impact on the environment and even on the traditional miners. These works could also influence the stability of the foundations of the nearby bridges, The Times of India reports.
Mahesh Mangela, a member of an organization of traditional sand dredgers, said: “The basic rule of no dredging (even using traditional methods) within 500m of the Vaitarna and Bhayander bridges is violated day and night. At this rate, it won’t be too long before the foundation of these bridges become weak.”
About 1,500 boats in Vasai-Virar and Palghar belts work in manual dredging, but can only draw around 400 sq ft of sand daily, while the suction pumps can draw enough sand to fill over 150 trawlers a day.
Activist Sumaira Abdulali stated: “I have noticed that illegal suction pumps are used all over Roha and Mahad regions for sand mining. Now, even beaches like Kihim and Awas have not been spared by illegal sand miners.”
No action has been taken so far to prevent the illegal dredging operations. However, according to the state environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh, the strict environmental guidelines for proper sand dredging already exist.
Dredging Today Staff, April 11, 2012;