Mumbai: The Maharashtra Cabinet decided to implement new mining rules on Wednesday, which is aimed at ensuring "planned and scientific" exploitation of the state`s mineral wealth.
At a meeting chaired by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan here today, it was decided to issue a notification to implement the rules from tomorrow.
New mining norms as per the Maharashtra Minor Minerals (Development and Regulation) Rules 2013, would ensure checks in the mining of "minor minerals" such as sand, stones, gravel and clay, which are used in construction and other sectors, an official said.
Earlier, the state revenue department used to permit mining of minor minerals by private players in areas of less than five hectares.
However, in its judgment of February 2012, the Supreme Court had made environmental clearances mandatory for mining minor minerals, including sand from river beds, even in areas less than five hectares.
The apex court ruling had clarified that sand mining on either river bank, upstream or instream, required monitoring and regulatory oversight, since these cause environmental degradation and threat to biodiversity.
After this clarification, mining process completely stopped across the country, including Maharashtra.
Recently, a senior minister raised the issue, pointing out that due to the Supreme Court ruling, the mining process has been completely stalled, leading to a negative impact on the construction business.