Illegal sand mining has been rampant in Mohali's Dera Bassi since 2016. A local newspaper reported how natural minerals in the form of gravels are being extracted from the area adjacent to Ghaggar river in complete legal violation. As per a SANDRP report, quarrying is banned in the state, but the demand for quarried minerals (four crore metric tonnes) remains the same. With only 15 mines remaining operational producing about 40 lakh metric tonnes of minerals and 70 per cent of the mined sand being consumed by government projects, the report concludes that the rest of the demand is being met through illegal mining. Unchecked mining activities in the region have resulted in substantial revenue losses for the state government and have disturbed the local community. Further, gravels and sand form essential mineral components of riverbeds. They have ecological value for their inbuilt filtration capacity and absorbing characteristics. Unrestrained mining has an irreversible impact on the riverbed ecology. In 2017, Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra set up flying squads to conduct surprise air raids in an attempt to catch the perpetrators. The raid proved futile, but local residents continued to reiterate that illegal mining continued. We can even show the mining officials where mining goes on even during the day. We are doubtful about the seriousness of the administration to stop illegal mining in our area. Illegal mining goes on unabated in Ghaggar river, said Dharampal Singh, a Derabassi resident in the report. The members of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) staged a protest in December 2019 against the state government. Accusing the Congress leaders of "patronising illegal sand mining trade and the mafia" in Mohali, SAD leader Sukhbir Badal pointed out how illegal mining, without necessary environmental clearances, were being carried out even in forested areas. Senior SAD leader and Dera Bassi MLA N.K. Sharma also raised concerns over how the mining mafia had uprooted trees in Dera Bassi posing a threat to the wildlife in the adjoining Chatt Zoo. Sharma further alleged that the sand mafia had dug up all of the shamlat land (village common land) in the district. A report in September 2020 noted how in spite of a ban on sand mining on riverbeds during monsoon, mining continued to take place in Ghaggar river near Kakrali village in Dera Bassi. The same report mentioned that since 2018, there have been 50 FIRs registered to deal with the problem but no one has been convicted so far.
Opposition against environmental degradation, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources
Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Case Laws, Other, Environmental Laws
Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute
What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Violation of environmental laws
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
Supreme Court of India
WP (C) No. 1342 of 2018
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
District Mining Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Government of Punjab
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Shiromani Akali Dal