The Chhattisgarh government has barred the panchayats from controlling the extraction and trading of sand---a right that was bestowed to the village government under the three-tier Panchayati Raj Act.
The state government had formulated norms under the Act, which came into effect on April 1, 2006, giving Gram Panchayats, Janpad Panchayats and Muncipal Corporations the right to extract and trade in sand. The royalty rate fixed was Rs 20 per cubic meter of sand.
Under the provision, the royalty amount was directly received from the miners or contractors by the local panchayat and municipal corporations.
From June 10, 2008 onwards, 25 per cent of the revenue received from minor minerals was re-allocated to state government and remaining 75 per cent was re-distributed to the Panchayat or Municipal Corporation under whose jursidiction the mining activity was carried out.
“Regular complaints of illegal mining and misuse of the provisions were coming to the fore and hence the state government had taken strict measure,” Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said. The panchayats will be getting 25 per cent more royalty, he added.
The new royalty will be calculated after taking out the mean of the royalty earned by a given panchayat in the last five years, and this amount will be added to the 25 per cent hike recently announced by the state. The rate of royalty will be hiked for transporting the minor mineral to other states.
The state-owned Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) would now extract and trade sand. In all, 300 sand mines had been explored in the state. The state government also announced to operate the mine in semi-mechanised model.