Delegation of Vidarbha Taxpayers Association (VTA) led by its president J. P. Sharma met Eknath Khadse – Revenue Minister and S. S. Sandhu – Principal Secretary Revenue on non auctioning of sand ghats, due to requirement of environment clearance and other issues, which is leading to sand theft, shortage adding to inflation & revenue loss to state exchequer and also submitted memorandum.
J. P. Sharma apprised Minister that such delay in auctioning of sand ghats has sky rocketed its price from Rs.16/- per cubic foot to almost Rs.40-50/-, which has also instigated sand theft considerably. Further more state government is also loosing its major revenue from this sector; apart from this its mineral is being illegally transported and stolen continuously. Further more to avoid yearly process, such auction period should be increased from annually to 2-3 years with gradual increase in tender amount.
Tejinder Singh Renu secretary of VTA said this stoppage is causing unprecedented delay to infrastructural projects, resulting unnecessary hike in project costs, therefore taxpayers’ money is going waste. Moreover thousands of family earn livelihood from building material transport and with complete halt in sand supply, their business has also comes to an end and for livelihood, they are literally compelled to carry illegal activity of sand theft, which indirectly is supporting sand mafia.
Renu informed Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had relaxed norms for sand mining vide notification No. J-13012/12/13-IA-II(I), dated 24.12.2013, whereby sand ghats having area of less than 5 hectare were no longer require environmental clearance and fortunately sand ghats in Nagpur & Bhandara Districts are well below 5 hectare, therefore most likely just permission from state environment action committee (SEAC) would be required, which being in state jurisdiction should be expedited.
Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse after hearing the entire issue assured VTA delegation that process for auction of sand ghats is in process and within one week, region’s sand ghats will start proceedings of its auction. He also directed his PS to ask Collector to take immediate care on the subject and start proceedings at the earliest.
Present others in the VTA delegation were Pawan K. Chopra – Treasurer, Pravin M. Agrawal – Joint Secretary and Executive Body Member Rajesh Kanoongo.