HYDERABAD: The High Court on Tuesday reserved its orders on a batch of petitions seeking action against illegal mining, vacation of the stay and other reliefs in the sand mining case. The court had, on March 23, granted stay on sand mining and auction of sand reaches in the state with effect from April 1 on the ground that the authorities failed to prevent illegal sand mining in rivers.
A division bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar said it had to intervene in the matter because the government failed to prevent illegal sand mining by contractors.
Advocate-general A Sudarshan Reddy said the government proposed to amend the rules to curb illegal sand quarrying by increasing the penalty three-fold from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 per truck which carries sand without valid permit. By submitting other proposed amendments to the court, the advocate-general urged the court to vacate the stay on mining and auctions.
The government said it would take three months’ time to amend the rules as it needed to consult all the chairmen of district-level sand committees and joint collectors to ascertain the field-level problems since they were the implementing authorities in the district.
According to the proposed amendment, the penalty on each tractor carrying five tonnes of sand will be Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000 for each excess tonne carried by a tractor or truck.
The government proposed to grant lease of sand reaches for quarrying for periods less than one year to avoid illegal excavation. As per the existing rules, the government grants leases for a period more than one year.
The government decided to amend Rule 9-B (6) (i) of the AP Minor Mineral Concession, 1996 by making mandatory enclosure of the sketch showing the location, ramp, as per the Geo coordinates of longitude and latitude by means of global positioning system (GPS) to the lease deed.
To prevent defaulters from participating in auctions by way of sealed tenders, the government is thinking of incorporating a clause for obtaining bank guarantee for 75 per cent of the upset price.
It also decided not to extend 10 per cent concession on the highest bid amount offered to the registered societies of boatmen.
The bench issued notices to the government and others on a plea challenging non-collection of Rs 5-crore penalties from Amanchi Srinivasulu, sand contractor and brother of Congress MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan, in Prakasam district.