Sand Crisis To Linger On As 600 Blocks Await Allotment | Ranchi News


Ranchi: Close to 600 sand blocks in the state will take several weeks to become operational as the Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation (JSMDC) awaits the completion of district survey reports (DSR) by the geology department before appointing private players to mine sand through the mining development operator (MDO) mode.
Even though the annual ban on sand mining, which is imposed in adherence to the guidelines of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) between June 10 and October 15 each year, has ended, the sand crisis in the state is likely to linger on as the mining operations have resumed in only 21 out of 622 sand blocks.
The JSMDC, which is scheduled to invite tenders from its empanelled MDOs, is waiting for the completion of DSR to be conducted by the administrations of all 24 districts and handed over to the geology department. The move, JSMDC officials said, comes after a recent NGT order in September this year which ordered that DSR needs to be completed before appointing MDOs for mining. Notably, the DSR is an annual exercise to create an inventory of sand available for mining in every district.
“The appointments process of the MDOs was challenged in the NGT. In September, the NGT gave us a clean chit but directed that the DSR needs to be completed first. The districts have been asked to take up the survey on priority so that tenders could be invited at the earliest. It will be inappropriate to say when these mines can be allotted as we will have to wait for the report,” Amit Kumar, the managing director of JSMDC, told TOI.
Notably, the JSMDC was handed over the task of sand mining in Jharkhand in 2017 for a five-year period. In August this year, the JSMDC was given a three-year extension.
The closure of 21 blocks during the monsoon triggered a statewide sand crisis which hit the real estate sector and government-funded construction projects like roads, bridges, and affordable homes for the poor under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. The developers were forced to source sand from neighbouring states and state stockists at three times the normal price.
“One truck of sand usually cost Rs 14,000 but this artificial crisis has shot up the prices to Rs 50,000. Government construction projects have either slowed down or have been shelved because the contractors do not want to hurt their profit share. Common people, who had to repair their homes before Diwali, bought sand at Rs 7,000 per tractor instead of the rate of Rs 2,000 per tractor. We have written to the mines department so many times urging them to take ad hoc steps but they are ignorant,” Kishore Mantri, the president of the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said.


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