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Mechanized stone mining killing rivers, Bangladesh

Mechanized stone crushing inflicting devastating impacts on rivers in Bangladesh, in Jaflong (within the rivers Piain and Dawki) and Bholaganj (within the river Dhala).


The conflicts are around (i) authorization for mechanized collection of stones from two rivers that are popular tourist spots, (ii) leasing out of part of the rivers as stone mohal (area that cane be subjected to leasing), and (iii) employment both in manual extraction versus mechanized extraction.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mechanized stone mining killing rivers, Bangladesh
State or province:N/A
(municipality or city/town)Jaflong, Sylhet
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Tailings from mines
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Stones
Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Project area:N/A
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:400,000
Start of the conflict:01/08/2006
Relevant government actors:Ministries of Environment and Forest; Water Resources; Power, Energy and Mineral Resources; Bangladesh Water Development Board; Department of Environment; Deputy Commissioner; Superintendent of Police; Mineral Resources Development Bureau.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Recreational users
translation missing: en.m.mobilizing_groups.fisher_people
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Mine tailing spills
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:Declaration of the rivers as Ecologically Critical Area and protect the same from all sorts of mining till the rivers get back their flows
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although the Courts has given clear directions and the government agencies have also moved in line with the directives of the Court, subsequent cases filed in the name of labour oganizations and concealing facts have resulted to contradictory orders. Hence, the ultimate objective of protection and restoration of the rivers are yet to take place.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Articles 31, 32 and 42 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
[click to view]

Mines and Minerals Resources (Control and Development) Act, 1992 and the Rules of 1968; Bangladesh Water Development Board Act, 2000; Land Management Manual, 1990 and the Gazette Notification of respondent No. 2 dated 24 February, 2005

Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995
[click to view]

The Environment Conservation Rules, 1997
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

BELA, 2016, Judicial Decisions on Environment in Bangladesh

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Stone Crushers in Sylhet High Court orders government to remove them
[click to view]

Jaflong Ravaged

Stone traders turn beautiful Pyain river into mining site; labourers,not tourists, flock to the place
[click to view]

Stone collectors feast on hillocks
[click to view]

Stone crushing mills grab Govt land, pollute environment
[click to view]

Other documents

[click to view]

Dauki River-Jaflong, Sylhet. Stone Mining
[click to view]

Dauki River-Jaflong, Sylhet.
[click to view]

Stone Mining -Jaflong, Sylhet.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Syeda Rizwana Hasan, BELA, [email protected]
Last update13/04/2017