In a bid to modernize sand procurement practices and combat illegal extraction, the Maharashtra state cabinet has announced a significant revision to its sand mining policy, now facilitating the online sale of sand by the government. This initiative marks a departure from the previous policy, which granted exclusive rights to the government for sand excavation and sales through designated depots.

Under the revamped policy, sales rates will be set on a no-profit-no-loss basis, ensuring equitable pricing for consumers. A consolidated tender will be solicited for the excavation, transportation, and establishment of depots, streamlining the entire sand procurement process.

For the Mumbai metropolitan region, the royalty fees are fixed at Rs 1200 per brass (equivalent to Rs 267 per metric ton), while regions outside Mumbai will incur a rate of Rs 600 per brass (or Rs 133 per metric ton). Buyers will be responsible for covering transportation costs from the designated depots.

The primary objective of the sand mining policy revision is to clamp down on illegal sand extraction, particularly from riverbed areas, and prevent its clandestine sale in the black market. Additionally, the policy aims to curb private entities’ unauthorized sand extraction activities and the detrimental impact of heavy trucks transporting sand on rural roads.

By actively participating in sand sales, the government anticipates a reduction in prices, thereby lowering overall construction costs for stakeholders in the industry.

To facilitate the implementation of the revised policy, depots will be established in all districts for sand storage and sale. A technical committee at the tehsil level will oversee riverbed excavation activities, while a committee chaired by the district collector will manage the tendering process and sales operations. Officials assure adherence to the directives of the National Green Tribunal to ensure environmental sustainability in sand mining activities.

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