After much delay caused by the wait for internal clearance, the State government is all set to move an ordinance to amend the Kerala River Bank Protection and Regulation of Sand Mining Act, 2001, to bring in stringent measures against illegal sand mining.

After much delay caused by the wait for internal clearance, the State government is all set to move an ordinance to amend the Kerala River Bank Protection and Regulation of Sand Mining Act, 2001, to bring in stringent measures against illegal sand mining.

Talking to The Hindu on Tuesday, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said that the ordinance will be brought forth next month.

A dedicated force to check the scourge of illegal sand mining would also become a reality with the amendment, he said. The idea was to depute police personnel into the squad with the sole duty of preventing illegal sand mining. The present arrangement of police conducting drives as and when their other law enforcement duties permitted it was not sufficient to check the menace, Mr. Rajendran said.

Going by the initial plans, each unit of the squad at the district will have 10 to 12 personnel headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police under the supervision of the Superintendent of Police of the respective region.

The revenue department will pay the salary to the members of the force out of the River Management Fund. Boats, jeeps, and other equipment required for carrying out the duty will also be provided using the fund.

Mr. Rajendran said that the proposed ordinance will take into account various court observations and directions on the issue like regular monitoring and sand audit.

He said that the three member committee appointed by the State government to look into various aspects of sand mining and ways to check the scourge of illegal sand mining had submitted its report based on which a scientific study had also been conducted.

The main finding of the report was to find alternative sources for sand so as to cut down the mining in rivers to the maximum extent possible,

Mr. Rajendran said. Hence the decision to explore dams for sand.

He said that funds were being allotted generously from the river management fund for river conservation projects.

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