August 21, 2021 10:06:28 am
In order to prevent illegal mining, the Rajasthan mining department has issued directions, making it compulsory for sand mining leases near khatedari (agricultural) land to weigh the sand at only those weighbridges which are approved by the mining department, said officials.
According to senior mining department officials, the decision was taken after several cases of the misuse of temporary e-rawanna (transit ticket issued online) surfaced.
“It has come to our notice that at times after getting the temporary e-rawanna, sand from illegal mines were being transported to various locations after being weighed at weighbridges located far away from the original mining site,” Additional Chief Secretary, Mines Department, Subodh Agarwal told The Indian Express.
A Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) had said in its report last year that the issue of mining leases in Khatedari lands has directly facilitated legalising extraction, transportation and sale of illegally extracted sand from the river beds in the state.
Legally mined sand is scarce in the state owing to a 2017 SC order, that restrained all the 82 sand mining leases in Rajasthan from carrying out mining activities in absence of environmental clearance and scientific replenishment study.
After the SC ban, pursuant to an amendment notification dated December 28, 2017, the state government had amended Rule 51 of Rajasthan Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 2017 to grant short term permits in Khatedari lands for excavation of sand only for government/government supported/government funded works.
“We have found that often sand extracted from agricultural land is less and instead of that illegally mined sand is included in the consignment. After the new directions, the weighbridges have to be situated near the mines and have to be approved by the government so that we can keep a track through the internet how much sand is being weighed. This will curb illegal mining,” said Agarwal.
The mining department officials have been instructed to ensure within seven days that mine lease holders go to only weighbridges approved by the department near the mining lease site.
Ever since the 2017 SC order, illegal sand mining has resulted in human casualties, blatant defiance of law by a mafia which even the administration is wary of and increasing accusations of collusion between government officials and illegal miners.
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