Port Blair, Mar 15 (UNI) The Ministry of Environment and Forest has permitted mining of sand in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for construction purposes.
The matter had also been taken up with the Ministry of Environment and Forest since the local population faced immense difficulties owing to non-availability of alternative construction materials in the islands.
Sand mining had been banned in Andaman and Nicobar Islands since 2002 following a Supreme Court order, to protect Andaman Ecology.
A notification from the Ministry said the sand allotment committee, consisting of top officials of Andaman administration, may permit sand mining on a case to case basis.
It also said the total quantity of sand to be mined shall not exceed 22,581 cubic metres for the period ending on December 31 next.
Besides, sand mining shall be taken only in those areas identified as accretion areas by the Institute of Ocean Management (IOM). The mining of sand shall be based on mining plans and stipulate sufficient safeguard to prevent damage to the sensitive coastal eco-system including corals, turtles, crocodiles, birds nesting sites and protected area, the notification added.
According to the notification, the Andaman and Nicobar administration shall identify alternate construction materials within the period of one year and no further extension or permission to the sand mining in the Coastal Regulation Zone will be accorded after the December 31.
UNI SKR KK SV AS1656