Thane: Authorities fail to stop rampant sand mining at Ulhas creek

A month after the Collector’s office had assured mid day that it would crack down on illegal sand miners, this paper found that dredging was still rampant at the Diva-Dombivli stretch where it has wiped out 300 acres of mangroves

Despite all promises of taking immediate action to put an end to illegal sand mining at Ulhas Creek, the authorities have been unable to rein in the rampant dredging activity that has been steadily destroying 300 acres of mangroves between Diva and Dombivli.

A month after the Collector’s office said it would come down hard on sand mining in the area, dredging continues at Ulhas Creek in full swing as mid-day witnessed on Wednesday morning. Pic/Shrikant KHuperkar
A month after the Collector’s office said it would come down hard on sand mining in the area, dredging continues at Ulhas Creek in full swing as mid-day witnessed on Wednesday morning. Pic/Shrikant KHuperkar

A month after the Thane collector had assured mid-day that the culprits wouldn’t be spared (‘Sand miners eat away at 300 acres of mangroves’, June 5), one of these reporters passed by the same section while travelling on a suburban train from Dombivli to Kopar on Wednesday morning, and found sand mining was still going on there in full swing.

The creek runs along the Central Railway line, and commuters can easily spot the dredging activity carried out, usually from 6.30 am to 9.30 am, and then again from 5.30 pm to around midnight. This, despite the fact that last month, officials from the Collector’s office and the local police had said they were cracking down on sand miners and even confiscating and dismantling their equipment.

mid-day had highlighted that not only was this creating an ecological risk by wiping out the mangroves and the local biodiversity, but the dredging was slowly turning the creek into a flood risk.

Despite several attempts, Thane Collector Ashwini Joshi could not be reached, however, an official from the Collector’s office told this paper, “We have been taking action at regular intervals and during our raids in the past months, we had even dismantled the machines so that the sand mafia could not use it again.

However, sometimes we are not able to reach the spot because there is no road access to the location and we don't have boats either.” “The very fact that the government and the Thane collector’s office have yet not taken action against those illegally dredging between Dombivli and Diva despite the issue being highlighted in the media, proves that the authorities are least concerned.

The Mumbra, Diva and Kalva belt has been in news for these notorious activities and so the department responsible for tackling this menace should do something, rather than giving excuses,” said Stalin Dayanand from the NGO Vanashakti.

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