Bringing relief to builders, sand miners and suppliers across Maharashtra, the Bombay high court on Tuesday vacated its month-long stay on sand mining. A division bench of justices B H Marlapalle and U D Salvi lifted the ban after accepting the draft policy laid down by the state government.
The bench, while accepting the policy, has restricted the excavation up to 2 metres in nullahs, creeks and rivers, which would not cause much ecological damage. Earlier, excavation was being done up to 14 metres using suction pumps and other mechanised equipment.
The court, while lifting the stay, noted, "The state has to find an alternative for sand being used in construction or else this fast depleting natural resource won't be available ten years from now." According to revenue minister Narayan Rane, the state generated revenue of Rs800 crore through sand mining and it is expected to collect Rs1,400 crore this year.
A petition filed by the Sagar Shramik Hatpati Walu Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit had said that continuous sand extraction posed serious environmental threats to riverbeds in the state and if ignored, it could lead to flood-like situations in places close to rivers.
Advocate general Ravi Kadam had urged the court to lift the stay. The court had said that the stay would be lifted only after the government issued and implemented a resolution for proper sand excavation policy. On Tuesday, Kadam told the court that a government resolution had been issued.