City Reports

Penalty for illegal mining increased in Rajasthan

Vehicle or machinery owners implicated in such activities will face a minimum penalty of Rs 3 lakh.

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May 18, 2023, 4:12 pm

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Mining. File photo.

JAIPUR: In a bid to curb illegal mining and transportation of gravel, the Mines and Petroleum Department has resolved to enforce heavy fines on violators.

As per the latest departmental directive, vehicle or machinery owners implicated in such activities will face a minimum penalty of Rs 3 lakh.

Previously, the standard penalty was set at Rs 1.25 lakh. This revision has been pending implementation for three years. The decision follows the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) penalty slab determination in February 2020, a mandate now brought into effect by the department.

In accordance with the department’s recent instructions, penalties will henceforth be assessed across three distinct brackets. The department had previously imposed a flat fine of Rs 1 lakh for environmental compensation, plus 10 times the gravel royalty amount, and additional fines for illicit mining and transportation. Under these guidelines, the typical penalty for a truck was approximately Rs 2.25 to 2.50 lakh. The revised mandate, however, sets the penalty range between Rs 2.25 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.

Ajay Chowdhary, President of the Truck Operators Gravel Welfare Society Rajasthan, lauded the government’s long-delayed action. He believes the heightened penalties will discourage illegal mining and transportation, given the deterrent effect of potentially exorbitant fines.

The department further outlined penalties based on the age and value of the seized machinery or vehicles:

  • Machinery or vehicles valued above Rs 25 lakh and less than 5 years old will incur a fine of Rs 4 lakh.
  • If the equipment is between 5 and 10 years old, the fine will be Rs 3 lakh.
  • Equipment over 10 years old will attract a penalty of Rs 2 lakh.

In addition to these charges, violators will have to pay 10 times the royalty amount and any other applicable fines. These penalties will be enforced regardless of the age or value of the seized equipment.

The department also instituted a new policy regarding the return of seized assets. Confiscated vehicles or machinery must be claimed within one month of seizure; otherwise, the return of the property will be denied.

First published: May 18, 2023