Is sand mining killing our rivers?

As part of India Rivers Week celebrations in 2020, India Rivers Forum is organizing a series of Dialogues (digitally) with a focus on the theme: “Is sand mining killing our rivers?”.


This includes four regional dialogues focusing on East (including North East), West, North and South India, and the final one focusing on Sand Mining as a National issue. Dates and details are mentioned in the poster below.


Sand mining or mining of River Bed Material (RBM, including sand, gravel, boulders) has a huge impact on Rivers, in multiple ways: physical, ecological, livelihood impacts among others. While sand is also sourced from sources other than rivers, India Rivers Week 2020 will focus on sand sourced directly or indirectly from rivers.


Sand is by definition, a key ingredient of the rivers. It provides habitat for multiple species of the biodiversity in the river. It provides both sub surface storage space and a mechanism to recharge the groundwater. The sand, along with silt, clay, pebbles and boulders are part of the river and are supposed to reach the deltas and provide a key existential medium in floodplain and deltas. To achieve that, sustaining river connectivities is very important.

There are structural issues involved with sand in the river, including river bed & river banks stability and even the safety of structures like bridges, flyovers, aqueducts and river bank constructions.


India Rivers Week 2020 aims to bring out a report of the state of river sand mining in India, along with recommendations for future. This exercise has already started in the form of regional report creation and will continue into the dialogues as outlined below.


Our regional dialogues will include two parts:


  1. A presentation of the regional report.
  2. A panel discussion with representatives from government, law-judiciary, civil society, media, academy-science and user groups.

Our final session will include four parts:


  1. A summary of the insights produced from the regional sessions.
  2. A keynote lecture.
  3. A  discussion on the state of sand mining in India at the national level as well as the government’s response to it.
  4. Award Ceremony for Bhagriath Prayas Samman Award and Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal.


We hope that by the end of this exercise, we will be able to bring out a report of state of river sand mining in India, along with recommendations for future.

Bhagirath Prayaas Samman &

Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal

Apart from the dialogues, India Rivers Forum also attempts to recognise unsung heroes – individuals and organisations who have done exemplary work towards the conservation and celebration of rivers.

Bhagirath Prayaas Samman (BPS) constituted in 2014 with Late Shri Ramaswamy Iyer as the Chair of Jury. BPS aims to recognize the unsung heroes for their outstanding and sustained efforts towards protection and conservation of rivers.

Shri Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal constituted in 2017 aims to celebrate journalists and media professionals who have established an exceptional body of credible work on various aspects of rivers leading to changes in behaviour, public discourse, law and policy.

Nomination forms can be submitted to any of the following e-mail addresses:
with the subject line: BPS/AMM 2020 Nomination

The last date for the submission of nominations is October 25, 2020