Illegal sand mining affects agriculture produce in Gujarat

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Navsari (Gujarat), Dec 31 (ANI): Continuous illegal sand mining in rivers that pass through Surat are not just affecting the natural course of these rivers, but also depleting farmers' produce every year.

Farmers around these areas have claimed that they were worst affected.

"Illegal ways of sieving out sand from the river has adversely affected our agriculture fields, and our produce has also gone down. Compared to the last year, my produce has gone down by 50 percent. We have made complaints against this but the administration is not doing anything," claimed Subodh Nayak, a farmer.

The state administration however, refutes this charge, saying the procedure has all legal sanctions.

"The Geology and Mining Department of the Gujarat Government are strictly observing it. The sand mining work is all legal and proper as per the need and the licences given. Royalty is also provided, and if somebody is suffering a loss, then the village panchayat (council) can stop it anytime and cancel the process," said Manoj Gajre, Deputy Collector, Navsari, Gujarat.

The Ambika Nadi Bacaho Janhit Raksha Abhiyaan, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the state, is working to save these rivers and protect farmers' right to access such natural resources.

"Due to the constant sieving of sand from the rivers, these rivers have developed 40-70 percent of huge cavities inside them. And this sand mining has also made the water saline, which has in turn made sources of these water bodies more saline. Due to all this, the fertile land of the farmers has also gone saline, and that is the reason behind the produce depleting by almost 20-30 percent," said a Jayesh Nayak, representative of the Ambika Nadi Bacaho Janhit Raksha Abhiyaan.

The NGO says the administration's claims are false.

Some of the affected rivers are the Ambika, Kaveri Purna, Tapi and Khapra. (ANI)

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