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Punjab’s new mining policy

Date: 04 January 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A new policy named sand and gravel policy 2021 has been formulated by the government of Punjab.

 

Background

Many farmers have been illegally mining sand from their fields earlier. The policy will legalise these actions without need for environment clearance.

 

Details

  • The policy allows farmers to legally dispose off ordinary earth extracted or removed during the leveling of their Agricultural fields up to 3-feet.

  • Many individual farmers and Panchayats are making deal will middle-men to get good rate for sand mined.

  • The present rates allow them to earn Rs 3 to 3.5 lakh by removing one cubic feet of sand from one acre of land.

 

Earlier law

  • Farmers had to take environment clearance for mining their fields. Even after clearance, agriculture land would not be allowed to be mined below 3 metres.

  • A case could be lodged against a person, Panchayat, forest officer, and Block Development and Panchayat Officer if violated.

 

Suggested method

  • Experts suggest that top layer up to 1 ft has to be removed and preserved before allowing extraction of soil present below.

  • Once the downward soil is mined, the preserved layer can be spread over the surface equally to retain the best quality soil.

 

Concerns and criticisms

  • The top layer of soil is very productive for farming and their removal will have drastic effects on crop output.

  • The destruction that takes place is forever and it will take hundreds of years for the same land to gain the fertility.

  • The government policy would legitimize the farmers to destroy their farm lands for short term gains, which cannot be reversed in future.