India has, as we say, a situation, where new environmental laws have run into the law of demand, creating a “sand mafia” of illegal miners, which is funding a lot of politicians who are not just looking away, but actively punishing civil servants who try to enforce the rules!
Here’s a very interesting article on the phenomenon from the “Swaminomics” blog at the Times of India, and here’s a teaser from the article:
We have enough outrage at illegal activity. We need more outrage about limitations on legal activity. It sounds progressive to demand environmental impact assessments for sand and rock mining in every deposit, regardless of size. But state governments have neither the money nor expertise. They sorely lack the staff and capacity to implement even existing rules and laws, let alone new ones. Heaping ever more responsibilities on them simply generates cynicism and corruption.
and I liked this bit too:
despite having some of the world’s biggest deposits of coal and iron ore, we are importing both. Will we now import sand and rocks too?