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Union Environment Ministry notified Guidelines on Sustainable Sand and Minor Mineral Mining

Sep 25, 2015 15:00 IST

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar on 24 September 2015 released Notification for sustainable sand and minor mineral mining.

The policy seeks forward to strike a balance between increasing demand of sand and sustainable sand mining practices. It may help in achieving the goal of sustainable development.

The new law and guidelines that will check illegal mining and allow serious, legitimate players to remain in business will be applicable from 1 January 2016.

Guidelines on Sand Mining and Minor Mineral Mining
• In order to mine an area, District Survey Report needs to be prepared for each district in the country, taking the river in that district as one ecological system.  The report should be prepared with the use of ISRO, remote sensing data and ground truthing.
• For sustainable mining, it provides for mining out material only that much which is deposited annually.
• The District-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) headed by District Collector needs to be involved in the process and he will be assisted by the District Level Expert Appraisal Committee (DEAC) headed by Executive Engineer (Irrigation Department).
• Stringent monitoring of movement of mined out material from source to destination using information technology tools, bar coding, SMS etc.
• The movement of sand is controlled through Transit Permit with security features having Printed on IBA approved MICR paper; Unique Barcode and Unique QR code among others.
• The monitoring of mined out mineral, Environmental Clearance (EC) conditions and enforcement of Environment Management Plan (EMP) will be ensured by the District Collector and the State Pollution Control Board.
• The monitoring of enforcement of EC conditions can be done by the Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the agency nominated by Ministry for the purpose.
• One EIA/EMP will be prepared for one cluster irrespective of number and size of mining leases in that cluster, if the area is more than 5 hectares.   Area less than 5 hectare will be B2.
The guidelines exempt certain category from mining for the purpose of environmental clearance, like:
a) Extraction of ordinary clay or ordinary sand manually by hereditary Kumhars (potters) who prepare earthen pots on a cottage industry basis
b) Extraction of ordinary clay or ordinary sand manually by earthen tile makers who prepare earthen tiles on a cottage industry basis
c) Removal of sand deposited on agricultural field after flood by owner farmers.
d) Customary extraction of sand and ordinary earth from sources situated in Gram Panchayat for personal use or community work in a village
e) Community works like desilting of village ponds/tanks, construction of village/rural roads, bunds undertaken in MGNREGS and other Government-sponsored schemes
f) Dredging and desilting of dam, reservoirs, weirs, barrages, river and canals for the purpose of maintenance and upkeep, and the dredged material is used departmentally.

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