Project Title: Organized Crime and Environmental Crime: Exploring the Consequences and Harms of Illicit Sand Mining
Affiliated Faculty: Aunshul Rege
Description: India’s Sand Mafia, which illegally mines sand for construction, generates approximately USD 17 million per month in revenues. Despite the devastating environmental, physical, and economical harms caused, there is a dearth of criminological research on this organized crime group. This research uses a tripartite model of organized crime to explore the Sand Mafia’s modus operandi, modus vivendi, and modus coordināti. This group operates as numerous, fragmented structures with transient memberships, and uses violence, political affiliation, and regenerative properties to ensure continued operation. Other factors, such as inadequate manpower, poor enforcement, rapid economic development, and limited acceptance of alternatives to sand, collectively compound the problem of illicit sand mining. It also offers a comparative analysis of India’s Sand Mafia and Italy’s EcoMafia, with a focus on the organizational mechanisms, operational practices, threat management, and supporting cultural, regulatory, and policing factors is conducted. Finally, this research examines the various harms generated by India’s illicit sand mining sector.