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Sand Mining Mafia Stopped in their Tracks


    Jammu and Kashmir

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In 2020-2021, Basharat Amin and Kashmir's community halted illegal sand mining in Ranbiara, Shopian, protecting their ecosystem. Through videos and advocacy, they spotlighted the issue, engaging with officials to arrest 5 people and seize their machinery. This story exemplifies the power of media and community activism in safeguarding environmental justice.

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This report details the successful cessation of illegal sand mining in Ranbiara, Shopian, catalyzed by the efforts of Basharat Amin, a community correspondent for Video Volunteers. Amin's documentation and advocacy benefitted approximately 10,000 locals by preserving their river and surrounding ecosystem, getting 5 people arrested and having their machinery seized. 


  • Benefit of $1 per person in ESG benefits from the story
  • Arrests of one person worth $1360
  • Machinery seized due to the story is $5000


  1. Arrests Made: According to a 2015 report, the average cost of an arrest in the U.S. is $13,607. Converting to purchasing power parity yields approximately $1360 per arrested individual in India
    5 arrested * $1360 = $6800
  2. Machinery Seized: We do not know what type of equipment was seized, making hard estimates difficult. Sand mining equipment begins from $1500, so we take a conservative estimate of $5000 in value.
  3. ESG Benefits: The impact helped 10,000 people protect their river ecosystem, increasing fishing and agricultural productivity as well as strengthened rule of law. We estimate its benefits at $1 per person, for a total of $10,000 

    Total Benefit = $6800 + $5000 + $10,000 = $21,800 per year

Counterfactual Analysis

The story states the mafia ran away with their machinery a few days after the arrests, leading the correspondent to make another story. We thus take a limited view of the story's long term impact, restricting it to a 3 month time horizon.

Benefit is $21,800 per year divided by 4 = $5,450

Cost of Story is $1400 , obtained by dividing the annual budget for video volunteers for 2020-21 ($451,346)  with the total number of impact reports they produced that year (322). 

Benefit Cost Ratio is $5,450 divided by $1400 = 3.89

The campaign against illegal sand mining in Ranbiara demonstrates the potent combination of community activism, media advocacy, and responsive governance. The successful cessation of illegal mining practices through arrests and equipment seizures underscores the importance of collective action in protecting natural resources.