Sand mining activities on farmland near riverbeds have ceased in Rajasthan

After the Supreme Court’s order paving the way for legal exploitation of riverbed sand in Rajasthan, the Ministry of Mines launched an action to stop mining activities within the 5 km radius of the rivers. No less than 173 sand mining leases on agricultural land in the demarcated areas have been canceled.

The Supreme Court on Thursday adopted the order while accepting the recommendations of an authorized Central Committee (CEC) authorizing the exploitation of sand from the bed of the river after obtaining all regulatory authorizations and payment of applicable taxes. The ordinance authorized legal mining in the state after a four-year hiatus.

Drone survey

Additional Chief Secretary (Mines and Petroleum) Subodh Agarwal said on Saturday that mining activities in the remaining 23 leases outside the 5 km radius would be monitored to ensure compliance with regulations. “Those who violate the terms of the lease will be closed. An aerial survey by drone will also be undertaken by the end of the month to verify activities.

Mr Agarwal, who called on all district collectors and SPs to implement the Supreme Court’s instructions, said the court order would facilitate the legal extraction, storage and transport of sand from the bed of the river. river and bring relief to the people. The Department has stopped collecting the departure tax from trucks loading sand, thereby banning illegal mining.

The availability of legally mined riverbed sand, mainly used for the construction of buildings, had dramatically reduced after the Supreme Court order in November 2017 banning the 82 sand mining leases from carrying out mining activities in the absence of environmental authorizations and of a scientific reconstruction study.

Over the past four years, a mafia had proliferated in the state, operating with illegal mining in several areas, which had led to sky-rocketing prices for riverbed sand. The huge gap between demand and supply has also resulted in the delay and closure of several construction projects and posed a major challenge to the state government on the law and order front.

The CEC recommended that the Union Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change issue an environmental clearance to all valid holders of letters of intent, as suggested by the Expert Assessment Committee, in within three months and without insisting on the submission of the scientific reconstruction report as a prerequisite. The resupply study can be undertaken during operation.

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