Environment ministry removes obstacles to sand mining

The Ministry's decision came amid growing concerns by enviromentalists that sand mining was causing depletion of the rivers and developers seeking permission for the same.

In an order, the Ministry said it decided to remove sand bars after Karnataka Government requested it to allow sand mining by traditional communities using manual methods.

The Ministry said it has stipulated several conditions including no mining in eco-sensitive zones, fish migratory and breeding grounds for removal of sand bar "by traditional coastal communities only by manual method" in various coastal states.

The conditions include constitution of a seven-member committee consisting of concerned officials as also at least one representative each from a scientific or technical institute, the local communities, like fisher folk and the local civil society under chairmanship of District Collector.

"Based on the recommendations of the committee, the district collector may permit removal of sand in the specified time period in a particular area alongwith specific quantity subject to subject conditions," the order said.

The local community persons permitted to remove the sand manually should get registered, it said and added that the district environmental official should monitor the removal and submit report to the collector. The permit shall be renewed on yearly basis and agenda and minutes of the committee, permit issued by the collector and monitoring report would be uploaded on the website of collectorate and also made available hard copy to Zila Parishad.

The accumulation of sand bar and its removal shall be studied by the state government with the help of satellite imagery, it said.

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