The Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining 2020 released by the Ministry include directions to states to carry out river audits, put detailed survey reports of all mining areas online and in the public domain, conduct replenishment studies of river beds, constantly monitor mining with drones, aerial surveys, ground surveys and set up dedicated task forces at district levels.
The guidelines also push for online sales and purchase of sand and other riverbed materials to make the process transparent. They propose night surveillance of mining activity through night-vision drones.
While the MoEF has already put in place the Sustainable Sand Management Guidelines 2016, which focus on the management of sand mining in India, officials say that there is an urgent need to have guidelines for effective enforcement of regulatory provisions and their monitoring.
The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 has empowered state governments to make rules to prevent illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals. “But in the recent past, it has been observed that there was a large number of illegal mining cases in the country.