Pitted with scars

Pitted with scars an ecological disaster is waiting to unfold in the coastal belt of Saurashtra in Gujarat. Rampant illegal mining of building stone is wreaking havoc on the region's biodiversity. It has also resulted in severe groundwater depletion, apart from impacting the quality of water. Agriculture, too, is a major casualty. What has compounded the crisis is that there are no environmental norms for even legal mining operations involving building stone. Although state government officials are tight-lipped about the matter, an unholy nexus is said to exist between the mining mafia and the powers that be.

Illegal mining is thriving in the entire belt, including areas in Porbandar, Amreli, Surat, Una and Junagadh districts. Most of it is being done on government wastelands, in forests or on private agricultural tracts without obtaining a lease for the purpose. In Porbandar, mining activities are being carried out at 150 sites in just two villages

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