Mining reduces Krishna's playground to dust

Thousands of people inhabiting the verdant and hilly northern belt home to the folklore of Hindu god Krishna are waging a grim campaign to save their land from illegal mining and stone quarrying.

The Braj region, encompassing Mathura town in Uttar Pradesh, the densely forested Bharatpur in Rajasthan and Faridabad in Haryana, is rapidly losing its natural bounty due to indiscriminate mining for sandstone, say activists.

The hills are being blasted down with dynamite and pulverised to dust, allegedly without official sanctions, and residents are getting desperate.

"It is a grave irony that the 5,000-year-old heritage hills of Braj, far older than the Taj, are being completely neglected," said Raghav Mittal of the Braj Rakshak Dal (BRD), the outfit at the forefront of the "Save the Braj" campaign.