Illegal sand mining is endangering bridges, Awaaz Foundation demands full investigation
Illegal sand mining is said to have weakened the foundation of the bridge across Savitri river near Mahad, causing it to collapse, say activists. Earlier, it was reported that illegal mining of the Vaitarna river bed is endangering the railway bridge under Western Railways that is used by thousands of long distance commuters including the Rajdhani Express passengers. Callous government officials are turning a blind eye to rampant illegal sand mining, which is endangering bridges and lives of commuters. 
 
The tragic collapse of the bridge at Mahad, which had been recently certified as fit has thrown the spotlight on the incessant illegal sand mining and dredging that is rampant in the region and across the state. Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation has written to the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asking for a "full investigation into the possible role of sand mining leading to weakening of infrastructure such as bridges and endangering the lives of rail and road travellers”, which should include "previous occasions of bridge collapse and complaints filed by the Western Railway, Awaaz Foundation and locals at various locations".
 
In her letter Ms Abdulali writes that, "The Savitri River at Mahad is one of the many areas being misused to dredge massive quantities of sand. Sand mining sites even not directly next to the collapsed bridge, but when placed upstream and downstream of a bridge, may change the flow and increase the force of the river. Such changes could have contributed in washing away the bridge which has survived the force of nature for decades since the British era and was recently certified as safe.”
 
In 2011, a bridge at Vaitarna Creek was damaged due to sand mining at its base. The Western Railway wrote to the Government about the dangers of allowing sand mining to continue. In spite of this, a huge amount of sand continued to be extracted from the area”. Photographs take by Ms Abdulali below show that a Police chowky exists right next to the railway bridge where sand is stored in large heaps and mining continued for years directly at the base of the bridge. 
 
Major newspapers too have reported that the illegal mining of the Vaitarna river bed is endangering the railways bridge on the Western Railways that is used by thousands of long distance commuters including the Rajdhani Express. The Railways have reportedly issued a warning in 2012 with no action from the State, and a second notice has been sent on 4th June, describing bridge number 92 as being in an "endangered condition” between Saphale and Vaitarna river due to sand mining. While the railways is merely sending out notices, without stopping service and the state remains indifferent, the lives of innocent people are at risk. 
 
Ms Abdulali further writes, "Over the years, I have continued to monitor illegal sand mining sites in various coastal areas of Maharashtra. Many of these sites are in the vicinity or directly next to railway and road bridges. Sand mining in Navi Mumbai, Vaitarna Creek, Bassein Creek, Thane Creek and Savitri River all continue close to bridges and often using suction pumps.” Ms Abdulali provides photographs as recent as May 2016, of sand mining at Vaitarna creek and Mahad immediately next to road and railway bridges. Site visits since 2010 confirm that this activity has been continuous since then.
 
 
In her letter she further highlights that, “Recently, in spite of repeatedly bringing illegal sand mining to the attention of the State Government, Bombay High Court Orders and National Green Tribunal Orders to control sand mining and numerous complaints of local villagers and myself, the Maharashtra State Government has seen fit to permit sand dredging using suction pumps at some locations through a change in policy". 
 
Ms Abdulali reminded the CM that she was attacked by the sand mafia at the Tol Bridge at Mahad in the same general area as the collapsed bridge. Unbridled sand mining in the vicinity of bridges may be a major contributing cause and cannot be ruled out. Awaaz Foundation requests that such investigation takes note of the various previous occasions of bridge collapse and complaints filed by the Western Railway, and locals at various locations.
 
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

COMMENTS

Deepak Narain

3 years ago

The present kind of 'free for all govt' helps only the corrupt, criminals and rich. The law and its long-drawn procedures are so framed that justice is seldom done and is very long- drawn. It suits our politicians well. They take care of each other. Mr Modi finds it very convenient for his short-term objectives. Rapes and crimes can be stopped within a month if the powerful mean business. I can do that. Only sincerity is needed. This is a golden opportunity for the BJP govt and is being frittered away. Hinduism, Hindus, Hindi and senior citizens - all are suffering.

Dr.MAHESH K MANDHYANI

3 years ago

WE ALL SHOULD SUPPORT SUCH ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES AROUND US.

D S Ranga Rao

3 years ago

''................however, no VIPs were reportedly involved in the accident.........'' used to be the refrain of the news reporters and officials which used to comfort the government whenever a major accident happens. So, illegal sand mining or any other illegal activity that always costs the lives of innocent poor people does not matter to government that is full of irresponsible and unaccountable public servants.

7 hit-and-run accidents every hour; how witnesses can help
More than 20,000 people lost their lives in hit-and-run cases nationwide in 2015, according to government data, and the reluctance of witnesses to be involved because of legal entanglements illustrates the need for clear laws to support “good samaritans”, as the state describes them.
 
Hit-and-run cases accounted for 11.4% of total accidents in 2015, an increase from 10.9% in 2014, according to road transport ministry data.
 
While 57 accidents were reported and 17 lives lost per hour in 2015, more than 54 per cent killed were between 15 and 35 years old, in the prime of youth.
 
Protecting Samaritans
 
On January 21, 2016, the government issued standard operating procedures to prevent unjust examination of eyewitnesses to road accidents, India's transport minister said, replying to a question by G. Hari, a Lok Sabha member Tamil Nadu, on February 25, 2016.
 
The standard procedures call for non-coercive, non-discriminatory, and time-bound inquiry into an accident -- and the examinee cannot be compelled to disclose personal information.
 
The guidelines also state that the samaritan does not have to pay for treatment unless he/she is related to the injured person.
 
National highways see more accidents
 
The central government intends to convert 52,000 km of state highways into national highways. The upgrade -- without instituting adequate safety measures on and along the national highways -- would be undesirable because the accidents and deaths in 2015 on national highways exceeded those on the state highways in 2014, by 4.5% and 6%.
 
Two-wheelers were involved in more fatal accidents (26%) than other vehicles; those riding two-wheelers accounted for 25.2% of all deaths on the road.
 
Uttar Pradesh (as on June 23, 2016) became the latest state to make wearing of helmets for pillions mandatory.
 
Controlled areas (manned by policemen or with machines installed for regulating traffic movement) witness fewer accidents (32% of the total) as compared to uncontrolled environments.
 
More than 20% of accidents were caused by drivers either on learner's licence or without licence, suggesting the need for remedial classes for those who cause accidents while on such licences.
 
As many as 52% of 387 drivers tested to discern a causal link between visual defects and accidents failed in at least one of the vision parameters tested, according to a study by Ashish Varma, Assistant Professor, Transportation Engineering, Indian Institute of Science.
 
The study also found that 60% of commercial bus drivers failed the minimum vision requirements for driving.
 
As many as 74% of respondents expressed unwillingness to assist victims of road accidents, according to a study, Impediments to Bystander Care in India, conducted by SaveLIFE Foundation, an advocacy working for road safety and TNS India, a global marketing research company, in July 2013.
 
As many as 88% of the unwilling bystanders cited legal hassles, involving repeated police questioning and multiple court appearances, for their hesitation.
 
Nearly 90% of the study participants wanted the enactment of a law to protect bystanders from harassment in case of administration of help to the victims.
 
The SaveLife-TNS study also points to another study by the Indian Journal of Surgery published in 2006 where it was found that 80% of road accident victims do not receive any medical care within the first or golden hour after the accident.
 
The absence of any protective framework is in stark contrast to legislations prevalent throughout the world.
 
The 201st Law Commission report mentions that doctors say 50% of accident victims could be saved if timely intervention is ensured.
 
Global pledges and comparisons
 
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the United Nations on September 25, 2015 aim to halve the global deaths and injuries from road accidents by 2030.
 
For India (a middle-income economy), the target is less than seven fatalities per 100,000 population from a baseline of 20.1 in 2010.
 
India became a signatory to the Brasilia declaration on November 19, 2015, committing to halve road accident deaths by 2020.
 
The road ahead: mitigating measures
 
A pilot project for cashless treatment of road accident victims is already operational on NH-8 (Gurgaon-Jaipur and Vadodara-Mumbai) and NH-33 (Ranchi-Mahulia). The service includes free cashless treatment up to Rs30,000 for road accident victims within 48 hours.
 
The government is also implementing the National Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme (NHARSS) to provide cranes and ambulances for evacuation purposes. As many as 140 advanced life support ambulances have been handed over to 140 identified state government hospitals.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

'Peepli Live' co-director gets 7 years jail for rape
A court on Thursday sentenced Mahmood Farooqui, the co-director of acclaimed 2010 Hindi film "Peepli Live", to seven years jail after finding him guilty of raping an American woman.
 
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Farooqui, who was convicted on July 30 of raping a 35-year-old woman from Columbia University who was in India for research on her doctoral thesis.
 
The woman, who moved to Delhi in June 2014, was looking for contacts for her work in Gorakhpur and came in contact with Farooqui through a common friend.
 
The incident occurred on March 28, 2015 when Farooqui invited her for dinner at his house.
 
According to the police chargesheet, the woman, who reached his house at 9 p.m., found Farooqui was very intoxicated, and he asked her to go to the other room which was his office.
 
After 20 minutes, she left the office room to smoke in the porch when he told her to come in and sit down, it said. After talking with her for a while, he suddenly kissed her and forced himself on her, the prosecution said, adding that the woman was scared after the incident.
 
During the trial, the American researcher stood by her complaint and alleged that Farooqui had raped her, while he denied the allegations, and claimed he was falsely implicated.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

online financial advisory
Pathbreakers
Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
online financia advisory
The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
financial magazines online
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
financial magazines in india
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)