Durga Shakti. What an appropriate name for the beleaguered IAS officer. Like Durga cleaned the world, the women of our country are cleaning up our society, albeit at a very high personal cost. The country is forever going to be beholden to Jyoti (the unfortunate Nirbhaya) and now to Durga. Fearlessly, she took on a powerful sand mafia and has been framed and defamed for her righteous act.
To understand a bit about the sand mafia, it is important to understand the uses of sand. This humble material has umpteen uses but what makes it as good as gold is its use in the construction industry.
- Sand is mixed with clay and other materials to manufacture bricks.
- A mixture of cement and sand is frequently used for making mortar.
- Sand is most often a principal component of concrete.
Sand is required in massive quantities wherever there is any construction (buildings, roads, bridges, flyovers) in progress. Construction, as we all know, has large, very large budgets. Particularly infrastructural construction. Little wonder then that sand has drawn the nefarious like bees to honey. All mafia is in many ways an extremely organised structure. It doesn’t take long for the structure to grow and encompass the rich and the powerful.
Durga’s suspension makes it evident that her expose threatened the unscrupulous within the power corridors. So is there a Sand Scam waiting to be exposed in a not-so-distant future?
The scamsters in our land have systematically exploited all the five fundamental elements of nature that we know. The five elements are: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Ether (or Space).
Space Scam: The 2G Spectrum Scam
Air Scam: The scam of the faulty army aircrafts. This incident was dramatised and used in Aamir Khan’s Rang De Basanti as the watershed event that turns the boys into men.
Earth Scam: Oh so many! Minerals and Vedanta; Adarsh Housing; Coal…this is a very long list indeed.
Water Scam: The Sand Scam (when exposed) will complete the exploitation of all elements. As already mentioned, sand is essential in construction. Now get this: the sand required is non-salty sand. This means that the sand by the sea or in the desert is not of any use. It is river sand that is required. So what happens is that the river banks are mined. This mining creates innumerable problems because the water cannot be contained. The loss of river banks can create floods. It is reported that the course of Yamuna has changed by 500 metres because of mining and parts of Noida face the threat of flooding. With the lack of containment, there is a depletion of groundwater (which in turn creates issues like droughts and deserts). These are some. Environmentalists will be able to list and describe the actual impact better.
It is too much to wish for, but hopefully, Durga’s Shakti is the first step towards a cleaner Indian Society.
By Sujata Garimela