New Delhi: The government proposes to introduce soon a new “sustainable sand mining” bill to curb illegal mining in river beds, union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.

Talking to media persons here, Javadekar said: “We are in the process of giving final touches to a sustainable sand mining policy. Using satellites, we will determine which river has abundant sand deposits and only then will we allow mining there. We will not let the rivers die.”

To further prevent illegal sand mining from river beds, he said barcoding system will also be introduced around the country to prevent excess removal.

“If someone has a licence to mine 10,000 tonnes of sand, we have to ensure that he does not take away 20,000 (tonnes). For this, we will introduce barcode,” he said.

The barcoded slips will have details of the drivers ferrying sand-laden trucks and will help in the tracking of the vehicle with the help of an invoice number, officials said.

According to ministry sources, the bill’s draft is ready and is likely to be finalised in a meeting scheduled to take place on July 3.

Despite a Supreme Court order suggesting prosecution for those found mining sand from river banks and beds without a valid licence, the illegal activity has been thriving due to the boom in the construction sector in the country.

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