Karnataka government today decided to bring in comprehensive amendments to the mineral concession rules to crack down on the sand mafia and making its illegal mining and transportation a cognizable offence.
The state Cabinet, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, decided to constitute sand monitoring committees at district and taluk levels to monitor such activities.
According to officials, illegal sand mining is rampant in parts of the state, with skyrocketing prices of the mineral, significantly increasing construction costs.
Briefing reporters, Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister TB Jayachandra pointed out that there was not enough legal mechanism to catch those engaged in illegal extraction but the latest amendments would regulate the sector.
Now, departments of the PWD, Mines and Geology and Revenue would be involved in streamlining such mining activities. “In the past, nobody had the power to act. Now, it has been made a cognizable offence. We have brought in a number of amendments to the mineral concession rules under the sand policy,” he said.
The district-level committees have been given vast powers, including fixing retail prices of sand, he said. Mr.Jayachandra also said the Cabinet approved amendments to the stone quarrying act of 2011 so that development works are not hampered because of non-availability and poor supply.