Himachal bans transporting sand outside state

Himachal bans transporting sand outside stateShimla, Sep 3 - Himachal Pradesh has decided to ban transportation of construction material like sand and grit outside the state for three months, an official said Tuesday.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has issued directions that strict action should be initiated against those smuggling construction material to other states and vehicles will be confiscated, a government spokesperson told IANS.

He said the decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by the chief minister in Shimla Monday evening.

Initially the ban is for three months but it can be extended, the spokesperson added.

To check illegal mining, the government has decided to make available bar-coded forms to all mining lease holders.

The chief minister has directed revenue and forest departments to check illegal mining.

As per new guidelines, the government has authorised 39 officers of various departments to make complaints in the court of competent jurisdiction under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.

In addition, 20 officials had been authorised to seize any mineral extracted or transported by anyone without lawful authority.

Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said 4,282 illegal mining cases have been detected this year and Rs. 2.38 crore fine was imposed.

The chief minister last month admitted in the assembly that illegal mining mafia was enjoying political patronage. But he assured that his government would soon clamp down on the mafia.

Illegal mining in Himachal Pradesh is an acute problem in Una, Solan and Sirmaur districts, adjoining Punjab and Haryana, official sources said. (IANS)

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