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Bihar Government to Launch Online Sand Shopping with Home Delivery in Three Months

By Neeraj Kumar

Patna: The process of online sand purchase is set to begin in the state within the next three months. With this new system, residents will be able to order sand online from their homes. If the quality of the sand is unsatisfactory, it can be returned. Brick and stone chips will also be added to this service later. The Mines and Geology Department, through Bihar State Mining Corporation Limited (BSMC), is organizing this initiative. The aim is to provide high-quality sand in the right quantities to people at reasonable rates.

Deputy Chief Minister and Mines and Geology Minister Vijay Kumar Sinha, along with Additional Chief Secretary of the department Mihir Kumar Singh, shared this information at a joint press conference on Friday. During the event, the Deputy Chief Minister inaugurated the new Command and Control Center in the department, designed to curb illegal extraction, transportation, and sale of sand.

Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Kumar Sinha revealed that the state has a total of 891 sand ghats, comprising 488 yellow and 403 white sand ghats. Sand extraction was occurring at 185 ghats before June 15. However, sand mining is currently suspended from June 15 to October 15. During this period, all District Magistrates have been instructed to strictly enforce the ban on illegal mining. He noted that there is sufficient sand storage for the next four months, which K-license holders will be able to sell. A meeting with district mining officials is scheduled for Friday to review actions on illegal mining, K-license issues, and storage.

The Deputy Chief Minister emphasized that action will be taken against sand mafias who do not comply within four months. The government aims to double its revenue this year, and new rules are being implemented to improve the entire process. Information about illegal mining can be reported to the department’s 24/7 helpline at 0612-2215360. Installing CCTV on the ghats is now mandatory. While no action will be taken against those who comply, the headquarters will stop issuing challans for illegal mining. So far, in the financial year 2024-25, 6095 raids have been conducted, 3462 vehicles seized, 832 FIRs registered against illegal mining, 375 arrests made, and Rs 43.44 crore recovered in penalties. From July 1, vehicles carrying minor minerals must have a 20-inch wide red strip. Details of e-challans issued by settlement holders are available to the public. Informers of illegal mining will remain confidential and be rewarded for accurate information.

Additional Chief Secretary Mihir Kumar Singh announced that accurate information leading to the capture of a tractor loaded with illegal sand will be rewarded with Rs 5,000, and Rs 10,000 for a truck. In Bhojpur district, 44 overloaded vehicles were caught, resulting in fines totaling approximately Rs 1.5 crore. On June 9, FIRs were lodged against 46 vehicles in Munger, 40 of which were overloaded, and six were without challans. This case has been referred to the Economic Offenses Unit, and two mining officials have been suspended.

The Additional Chief Secretary also mentioned that next month, the state government will start the tender process for selecting an agency to begin mining from three blocks of major minerals, and the central government will start mining from one block. This will expedite mining operations from these blocks. Specifically, the state government will issue tenders for mining from two blocks of magnetite and one block of limestone. The magnetite blocks are located in Majus and Bhanta areas of Jamui district, and the limestone block is near Banjari Cement Factory in Ghoda Katra, Rohtas district. These blocks are being monitored by SBI Caps. Additionally, the central government will issue a tender for mining from a block of tungsten, including nickel-chromium-platinum group elements, in the Ahir Tola, Denjana area near Imamganj in Aurangabad and Gaya districts.

The author is a Patna based journalist.

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