New Delhi: To put a check on illegal mining and end ‘mafiaraj’ in the sector, the government on Thursday came out with a draft policy which will use advance technologies like satellite surveillance to regulate mining of sand and other minor minerals.

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said that the draft minor mineral sustainable mining policy notification has been issued and after taking in suggestions and public opinion, the new policy will be implemented from 1 January next year.

The new policy will make use of combination of satellite surveillance, high-security receipts and decentralised decision-making to regulate mining of sand and other minor minerals along the nation’s rivers. “A big problem in the country was illegal mining and ‘mafiaraj’ especially in the sand mining sector. We are going to make drastic changes in the system.

“We have come out with a new mining policy. The draft notification of minor mineral sustainable mining policy has been published in the gazette," Javadekar told reporters while adding that sand, mud, marble, granite, stone and others fall under the category of minor minerals.

The union minister said that supreme court had given a decision in February 2012 which said one had to take environment clearance for even mining on one hectare. He said that after taking over, his ministry looked at the best practises of the world, consulted the states, officials undertook visits and deliberations were done with experts.

“We have made a policy which is scientific, sustainable, technology driven, user friendly, decentralised and has strong monitoring system. “This is a draft and will remain for 60 days. We will take in suggestions. After deliberations, on 1 January, 2016, this policy will be implemented and a new era of sustainable mining will start in India," he said.

“At places, there was so much illegal sand mining that many rivers had dried up in those areas while people and farmers were facing a lot of problems. “The policy will stop illegal mining, black marketing and help increase state’s revenues. This was the mafia and for this officials and RTI activists were getting killed," he said.

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