The political economy of river sand mining in South Asia: A commodity chain approach

South Asia's riverbeds are a primary site of conflict between the need for development and environmental protection. The region's unprecedented construction boom has created a scramble for sand, and one of the primary sources for this newly valuable commodity is its vulnerable river systems. The large Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) River Basin has been particularly affected by the search for sand sources. This multi-disciplinary, multi-sited project will use innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to investigate sand mining in the GBM River Basin. The project will focus on Artisanal and Small-scale mining, which are the primary modes employed within the basin, and approach them from the perspective of commodity chain analysis. It will include fieldwork at four sites within the watershed and a household survey. Its outcomes will contribute substantially to the literature on the political economies and ecologies of sand extraction, inform government policies on sand-mining, and inform public conversations on resource management. 

  • Funded by: Norwegian Research Council (Utenriks)
  • Hosted by: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)
  • Staff involved: Bert Suykens (Principal Investigator), Magnus Hatlebakk (CMI), Anwesha Dutta (CMI), Atique Rahman, Niloy Ranjan Biswas (Dhaka University), 

    Bal Kumar KC (IPDS-Nepal), Yogendra Gurung (IPDS-Nepal), Ruth Gamble (CMI; La Trobe University)