Centre issues guidelines on sand mining
THREE YEARS after the Supreme Court ordered the Union environment ministry to formulate guidelines for sustainable mining, the ministry has released guidelines for mining of sand and other aggregates. The guidelines place emphasis on using latest technologies like GPS and bar codes to map riverine areas and track the mined sand. The guidelines also call for site-specific surveys for all existing and proposed mine leases to calculate the exact amount of extractable sand and other aggregates from an area. While the guidelines uphold the rights of communities over their resources, environmental clearance will be mandatory for all mines. The guidelines also suggest increasing penalty against illegal miners which may include confiscation of vehicles carrying illegally-mined sand and seizure of all the equipments and machineries involved in mining in non-leased areas. These guidelines have to be ratified and implemented by the states.