From next year, extraction in CRZ areas will be decided by DC-headed panel

Sand mining in the coastal region will continue as usual and there will be no immediate impact of the latest changes in the rules governing sand mining. The announcement was made here on Monday by Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology B. Ramanath Rai.

The district administration withheld the process of issuing permits for sand mining in the last week of December, and the failure to resolve the issue, it was feared, would result in illegal extraction of sand and its transport. Sand miners feared harassment and adverse impact on construction activity.

The Minister said the existing method of the Mines and Geology Department issuing temporary permits for extraction and disposal of sand will be continued till the end of this year in the coastal areas. From the next year, sand extraction and transport will be done in the coastal regulatory zone areas as per the orders of seven-member committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner. In other areas, as per the new policy, sand extraction and transport will be under the control of the Public Works Department.

Talking to reporters here on Monday, the Minister, who is in in-charge of the district, said the amendments were brought to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act on December 16, 2013, to allow a different system of extraction and transport of sand in the coastal areas.

“These changes will come into effect from the next calendar year. Till then the existing system will continue,” he said. In the remaining part of the State, sand extraction and disposal was under the control of the PWD, he said.

Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim said a seven-member District committee headed by him will identify the places where sand mining would be carried out.

These places should be identified by an expert team. Those involved in traditional way of sand mining would be allowed to operate. These traditional sand miners should submit quarrying plan and environment clearance certificate.

The permit for extraction will be for a period of one year.

The District Environment Department Officer has to submit report on sand mining and its impact on the environment to the Deputy Commissioner every month.

With regard to areas outside the coastal regulatory zone, the Taluk-level committees will be identifying the blocks where sand mining will be carried out. The transport of the sand will be taken up by the Public Works Department.

An official of the Mines and Geology Department said under the amended provision those carrying out mining, including that of sand, should have quarrying plan and environment clearance certificate. “We cannot forthwith ask the operators to submit the quarrying plan and the certificate. Period of nine months is given for them to submit the necessary documents and carry out mining activity till the end of this year,” the official said.

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