The following is the text of the Statement made by the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar on Notification for sustainable sand and minor mineral mining, here today:
“Sand is for river, what RBC is for blood. Sand is vital for health of river”. The objective is to strike a balance between increasing demand of sand and sustainable sand mining practices. This will help in achieving the goal of sustainable development. The new guidelines for the first time focus on the following:
1) Where to mine and where to prohibit mining: District Survey Report for each district in the country, taking the river in that district as one ecological system. Use of ISRO, remote sensing data and ground truthing.
2) Sustainable mining: Mining out material only that much which is deposited annually.
3) Involvement of District authorities in the process: The District-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) headed by District Collector. The District Collector is to be assisted by the District Level Expert Appraisal Committee (DEAC) headed by Executive Engineer (Irrigation Department) being assigned the responsibility of granting environment clearance up to 5 hectare of mine lease area for minor minerals , mainly sand. So district administration, which is the key in assessing the requirement of sand in a district and prohibiting illegal sand mining in district is being involved directly in environmental clearance.
4) Monitoring using scientific tools: Stringent monitoring of movement of mined out material from source to destination using information technology tools, bar coding, SMS etc. Till date, there is no authentic data on how much sand is being mined, this system will generate real-time data on mined out sand. The movement of sand is controlled through Transit Permit.
The security features of T.P should be as follows:
a) Printed on IBA approved MICR paper;
b) Unique Barcode;
c) Unique QR code;
d) Fugitive Ink Background;
e) Invisible Ink Mark;
f) Void Pentograph;
Requirement at Mine Lease Site:
a) Small size plot (Up to 5 hectare); Android-based smartphone;
b) Large size plots (More than 5 hectare): CCTV camera, PC, internet connection, power back-up.
c) Access control of mine lease site.
d) Arrangement for weighment or approximation of weight of mined out mineral on the basis of volume of the trailer of vehicle used.
Scanning of T.P/receipt and Uploading on server:
a) Website: Scanning of receipt on mining site can be done through barcode scanner and computer using the software.
b) Android application: Scanning on mining site can be done using Android application using smartphone. It will require internet availability on SIM card.
c) SMS: T.P/receipt can be uploaded on server even by sending SMS through mobile. Once T.P/receipt gets uploaded, a unique invoice code gets generated with its validity period.
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.
5. Exemptions: Proposal to exempt certain category from mining for the purpose of environmental clearance, like:
i. Extraction of ordinary clay or ordinary sand manually by hereditary Kumhars (potters) who prepare earthen pots on a cottage industry basis.
ii. Extraction of ordinary clay or ordinary sand manually by earthen tile makers who prepare earthen tiles on a cottage industry basis.
iii. Removal of sand deposited on agricultural field after flood by owner farmers.
iv. Customary extraction of sand and ordinary earth from sources situated in Gram Panchayat for personal use or community work in a village.
v. Community works like desilting of village ponds/tanks, construction of village/rural roads, bunds undertaken in MGNREGS and other Government-sponsored schemes.
vi. 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. If the dredging activities are undertaken for the purpose of winning of mineral and selling it commercially, it will be considered mining and prior EC will be required.
6. Guideline on handling cluster issues: The original EIA notification does not provide for the procedure to handle cluster situation, which has been proposed in this guideline and will become part of the Notification. 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.
There have been several orders from Hon’ble Courts and Tribunals, an attempt has been made to resolve the issues raised from time to time, regarding sand mining in a scientific and sustainable manner.”
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