Illegal Sand Mining in Punjab's Dera Bassi Poses Threat to Ecology

Reported by

Damandeep SinghLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 28, 2021

Location of Conflict

Dera Bassi


Reason or Cause of Conflict

Sand Mining



People Affected by Conflict


Land Area Affected (in Hectares)



Starting Year






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.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Region Classification


Type of Land


Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

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

Legal Status:

In Court

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

Case Number

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

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Damandeep Singh

Reviewed By

Damandeep Singh

Updated By

Damandeep Singh

Edited By

Damandeep SinghLand Conflict Watch

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