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At least 400 permit holders to mine sand

PANAJI : Close to 400 permit holders are likely to be involved in extraction of sand when the new sand mining season reopens in Goa on October 1 2016.

A senior official in the department of mines and geology said that 360 permits have been issued till date and the process of granting more permits is currently underway.

The DMG office has also started accepting royalty from licensed sand mining operators ahead of the new season for 2016-17 opening on September 30, said the official.

The forthcoming season will have licensed sand mining taking place after a gap of nearly five years. Permit holders are expected to be adhering to the regulatory guidelines issued in March 2016.

Furthermore they will have to ensure that vessels (canoes) are fitted with GPS and that every vehicle used in transporting of sand has a transit pass.

“The approaching season will see legal sand mining taking place after a long gap,” said the senior official.

On March 30 2016, the government issued several guidelines for legal sand mining.

As per the DMG notification, sand extraction can only be carried out by a licensed permit holder who will also have to be operating the vessel. Canoes used for extraction by any extractor other than the permit holder will be confiscated. The DMG also has the right to destroy a canoe used for illegal sand mining in any way it thinks fit.

Also,  illegal sand extractors, including family members, will be barred from grant of licence for a period of five years. For repeat offenders, criminal prosecution will be initiated.

The DMG has put the onus of illegal sand mining on the canoe owner irrespective of whether he is involved in illegal activity “directly or otherwise”.

Furthermore no extraction is permitted between 6pm and 6 am. It is also the duty of the permit holder to report illegal sand mining to the department, said the notification.

Sand mining is a traditional activity but profitable activity with numerous canoe owners involved in the extraction of sand from riverbeds. However, the government did not earn anything out of it (by way of royalty) since the activity had been unlicensed.

The last sand mining licence was issued in 2011. With licensed sand mining starting from October 1 the DMG is expected to earn royalty income.

It has set royalty fee of Rs 41.20 per cubic metre plus two per cent tax while the extraction limit is six cubic metres per day.

The sand mining season is closed from June 1- September 30 on account of monsoon.

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