Mumbai: With a view to prevent illegal extraction and transportation of minor minerals, the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Wednesday amended the Land Revenue Code Bill.
The amended bill provides for increased penalty, power to district magistrates and deputy collectors to seize and confiscate the machinery and equipments for use of unauthorised extraction.
Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse informed the House that the penalty has been increased from "three times" to "five times" of the market value of the minerals extracted. "The offenders will be kept in jail for atleast a year after being arrested and it would be ensured that they do not get chance to move court for bail. The motor vehicles carrying the minerals will also be seized," he said.
"Over the years, many efforts have been taken to nip the bud of sand mafia in the state but the offenders have always taken loopholes in law. We intend to make the law more stringent," he said.
Khadse further said repeat offenders will be booked under Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act and a separate bill will be introduced by the home department soon.