Policy to keep sand mining at bay

Draft policy in final stage; to be placed before Cabinet shortly.

By   |  Published: 21st Dec 2016  9:28 pmUpdated: 22nd Dec 2016  11:32 pm
Illustrations by GuruSri

Hyderabad: A comprehensive sand mining policy for Telangana is in the final stage and it will be placed before the Cabinet for its approval shortly, said Minister for Mines and IT KT Rama Rao.

The policy would cover the entire gamut of sand mining operations and suggests effective measures to put an end to illegal mining, Rao informed the Legislative Council on Wednesday.
Replying to a question raised by K Damodar Reddy, Mohd Shabbir Ali (Congress) and others, he said government was dealing firmly with illegal quarrying and as a result the revenue accruing from sand had touched a record Rs 230 crore so far this year. During 2015-16, the revenue was pegged at Rs 321 crore, besides collecting penalties of Rs 11.83 crore.

An assistant director and an inspector were suspended at Alampur in Mahboobnagar for indulging in malpractices. Huge quantum of sand was also seized in Deverkadra and Koderu by mobile squads constituted at district-level, comprising officials of Mines and Geology, Revenue, Police and Transport Department, Rao said.

He said District Collectors had been given powers to permit sand mining locally up to 5 hectares. Integrated check-posts were being set up on the borders to check illegal mining activity. The Telangana State Mineral Development Corporation (APSMDC) had also installed CCTV cameras to keep an eye on the operations. The government proposed to go for geo-fencing and tenders were called already in this regard.

A team of officials has recently visited Odisha to study the way GPS technology was being used there to track vehicles and the same would be introduced in Telangana from January, the Minister said.

He further stated that the government had set up District Mineral Fund for repair of roads damaged by mining activity.

Earlier, P Sudhakar Reddy (Congress) said the illegal sand miners were well-connected and minting money that would be enough to build big projects. He wanted the government to follow the method being used by Orissa which had helped in tackling the illegal mining through GPS.

Land identified for dry ports

Appropriate land parcels were being identified for construction of dry port in the State and the project would be taken up during 2017-18, said Industries Minister KT Rama Rao.

The first phase of the project was estimated at Rs 1,650 crore and the second phase at Rs 2,034 crore. The assistance of the Central government would be sought. All the options were being examined whether to go in for joint venture, private public mode or let the State government itself execute the project, KTR told the Legislative Council during question hour on Wednesday.

He said M/s Ernest and Young consultants had suggested one dry port to the East/Southeast of Hyderabad and another on its western side. Some of the places identified for the project included Bhongir, Chitiyal, Choutuppal, Zaheerabad, Jadcherla, Shadnagar and Suryapet-Damaracherla area.

The selection of site was based on factors such as presence of industries and sectors dependent on dry port, proximity to highways, railways and distance from the port. Another crucial factor was availability of land parcels of 1,000 to 2,000 acres, the Minister said.