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Bihar Gears Up to Combat Sand Mafia with Advanced Monitoring Plan

By Neeraj Kumar

Patna, June 8: Preparations are underway to crack down on the sand mafia in Bihar, with the government devising a foolproof plan. To curb illegal sand mining, the Mines and Geology Department is implementing an online monitoring system, including comprehensive Google mapping of the entire Sone riverbank. This initiative will involve detailed photography from Patna to Rohtas using Google’s mapping tools. Covering approximately 150 km of the Sone river embankment, the plan includes installing cameras along this stretch.

The department is currently identifying high-risk areas for illegal sand mining, recording their coordinates using Google tools. This precise marking will facilitate quick response via Google Maps or GPS. Cameras will be installed at these selected locations and connected to the department’s control and command center, ensuring effective monitoring of all sensitive areas. Additionally, the department is considering linking these cameras via satellite or mobile networks to enhance the monitoring system, with implementation set to begin soon after all aspects are considered.

The Sone river significantly contributes to Bihar’s mining revenue, with about half of the state’s mining income derived from this river alone. Last financial year, sand mining generated approximately Rs 3300 crore, with 50 to 55 percent of this revenue coming from Sone river ghats. The state issues around 50,000 to 55,000 challans daily, half of which are related to these areas. Each challan corresponds to a vehicle loaded with sand, whether a truck or a tractor. The Sone river sand, known for its light red and golden color, is highly sought after for casting and plastering, commanding prices two to two and a half times higher than the white sand of the Ganga. Currently, mining operations are active at about 130 to 140 ghats along the Sone river.

The author is a Patna based journalist.


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