Harish Jharia

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04 August 2013

Illegal sand mining - UP sand-mining mafia forces government to suspend IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal

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Have you ever wondered what all problems are faced by bureaucrats like IAS and IPS officers when they are posted in the states of India? How they have to face the local mafias head-on, while enforcing law? Here are the answers in this article, for few of your questions about the nexus between mafias and politicians and the consequences faced by the bureaucrats.  
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- Harish Jharia

It looks as if democracy in India has completely faded out and the politicians, occupying powerful government posts, keep sticking to their chairs by ‘hook and crook’.  They capture power, at the time of elections, with the help of business houses, and various extra constitutional powerful entities like builders,  sand-miners, automobile parking companies, bus / truck transporters and many other rural goons who impose and collect ‘rangdaari’ (ransom) against letting the individuals survive and operate business in their areas.  These politicians who get elected by such means are naturally indebted to these financiers and associates and are obliged to them to accomplish tasks assigned by them  to the politicians in power. 

India cannot be proudly called the largest democracy on planet earth, if the suspension of the IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal is any indication. I have concluded the following story out of the telecasts I watched on TV news channels and reading newspaper reports. 

One fine morning on July 27 we came to know that a SDM Durga Shakti Nagpal was suspended by the UP government. Nagpal was served the suspension order apparently for demolishing the wall of a proposed mosque on a public land. The UP Chief Minister subsequently, defended Nagpal's suspension, claiming that her action to demolish the wall of a religious place had vitiated communal harmony in that area.

While no details of the suspension order were available to the media, Durga Nagpal, 28, has recently stated that she had never issued any orders to demolish the wall which could have fueled communal tensions. The IAS officer further explained that on July 27, villagers had themselves, razed the wall after she told them that as per Supreme Court rules, religious structures can't be built on government land and also require special clearances.

Meanwhile, a ruling party politician, believed to be connected to sand mining, publically announced in a gathering of some villagers that he got the officer suspended within 41 minutes (not 41 hours).  It appears to be true, because Durga was suspended abruptly without following any official protocols like issuing warning letter, calling for explanation and asking for comments and recommendations from her senior IAS officer- Collector / DM. The Collector / DM subsequently stated that Durga did not demolish the wall. Moreover, the daily diary of the local police station did not have any entries of suspected communal tension in their jurisdiction.

The media has claimed that some ruling party politicians were running sand mining business and owing hundreds of dumpers and excavation heavy machinery. It is reported in the media that Durga Nagpal stopped illegal mining activities in that area and confiscated hundreds of dumpers and other heavy machinery  Experts have estimated losses of hundreds of crores of Rupees because of Durga’s crackdown on the illegal sand mining activities in that area. The media claims that Durga Nagpal has been punished for disrupting the send mining business rather than for any suspected communal disturbance.  

Indian TV news channels have aired views of Indian experts, statesmen, senior politicians and ex bureaucrats who have condemned the UP government’s action of punishing an IAS officer for no fault of her.  They have called for revocation of the suspension order and reinstatement of the officer on her existing post. 

Meanwhile, the ruling party spokespersons and UP ministers are sticking to their controversial action against the dutiful, honest and sincere IAS officers. They have even gone to the extent of asking the Central Government to call back Durga Nagpal from her job in UP. They have also demanded punishment for Durga Nagpal’s senior Collector / DM, because, he made positive comments and recommendations in support of his subordinate IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal. 

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