Govt. should have control over sand distribution and illegalities must be removed: BAI Chairman
Bengaluru: The State Government will soon come out with a new Sand Policy to ensure that end-users get sand at a nominal price and without hassles, Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani announced in Bengaluru yesterday.
He told reporters that the existing sand policy would be amended for eliminating procedures such as obtaining permits from PWD and Gram Panchayat (GP) authorities for transportation and use of sand within the district for construction of individual houses or houses to be constructed under the Government Schemes and not for commercial purposes.
The proposed changes would benefit families constructing houses for their personal use, he said. However, permits would have to be obtained from authorities for inter-district movement of sand as well as use of sand within the district for commercial purposes such as construction of apartment complexes.
The Government is taking a number of measures to streamline the system and the new policy will ensure uniform prices for sand transportation in GP limits. The Department has fixed Rs. 300 per tonne for extracting sand from gorge, streams and reserves for construction of houses under Government schemes and other construction activities at GP level.
Nirani claimed that the new sand policy would put an end to corruption. “The aim is to help end-users get local resources at a nominal cost and to put an end to corruption. The Government will not fix a limit on the quantity of sand people take for construction of houses in villages as that is not for sale. They can take sand only from places that are not auctioned and need to pay a nominal charge,” he added.
BAI welcomes Govt. move
Welcoming the Minister’s statements on sand policy, Builders Association of India (BAI), Mysore Centre, Chairman M. Rathnaraj said that the Government must have a proper control over sand distribution and all illegalities have to be eliminated. Transportation and shipping of sand from Karnataka to other States must be prevented and people of Karnataka have to get first preference in the sand policy, he added.
“Sand must be available to common man and builders and many Governments have not had control over sand mafia. At the same time, the new sand policy must take measures against indiscriminate mining that will lead to ecological disaster,” he added.
“Only 183 blocks are allowed across Karnataka and cess will be levied on tipper, lorry and other vehicles transporting sand and no charges for transporting sand in bullock carts and two-wheelers. Transportation of sand from one district to another will not be allowed and must be transported within jurisdictional limits. However, permits will be needed to transport sand for commercial purposes and from one district to another,” Minister Nirani said.
In the new mining policy, separate action plans would be formulated for coastal, middle and north Karnataka districts taking into account weather and seasonal demand. Nirani said that in line with ‘ease-of-doing business’, it was proposed to establish a “single window” agency to expedite applications for mining. This would reduce harassment faced by the investors to get permits.
District-level and State-level clearance committees would be set up for clearing investments below Rs. 5 crore and above Rs. 5 crore, respectively, he said. Currently, an investor has to get a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the Revenue Depart-ment (Deputy Commissioner) and Forest Department (Deputy Conservator of Forests), and environment clearance certificate from the Pollution Control Board before final approval from the Directorate of Mines and Geology Department.