JAIPUR: Uncertainly prevails over sand mining from the state’s riverbeds as the mining lease holders have not procured the environmental clearance from environment ministry as per the Supreme Court directions.

The miners are now eagerly waiting for the apex court’s hearing on February 25 for relief. The state government has allowed sand mining till February 28, following the apex court directions. The ban will come into effect from March 1, if the environmental clearance is not taken. The state government has issued a letter of intent (LOI) to 82 lease holder for sand mining till 2014. Out of 82 miners, no lease holder has procured the clearance.

As the procedure to receive environment clearance is long, the Rajasthan Bajri Truck Operators’ Welfare Society president, Naveen Sharma, has filed an application in the Supreme Court praying extension of time. The hearing on the matter is scheduled to be held on Monday. Sources in the department claimed that senior officials have also reached New Delhi for the hearing.

“We have filed a 64-page application requesting that the court should allow the lease holder to continue with the mining. There are nearly 25 lakh workers and 17, 000 truck operators associated with the industry. Enforcement of the ban will lead to unemployment once again,” Sharma said.

It is learnt that till now the mining department has not issued public objection letter for the lease holders. Once the letter is issued, it is mandatory to give one month’s time to invite objections.

“As the election code of conduct will be enforced soon, there is no possibility that the procedure of public objection can be completed before the Lok Shabha election. In such a scenario, if the mining is banned, work will be affected for at least six months,” Sharma added.

As uncertainty prevails possibilities of sand hoarding is also expected to rise. “Many traders have started sand hoarding as chances of ban prevails and they could sell it on higher rates, once the ban is imposed,” a trader claimed.

This has also caused worries among realtors and officials of civic bodies as disruption in supply once again will affect the housing and infrastructure projects in the state. Currently, projects like Metro, affordable housing scheme, Bus Rapid Transit corridor are underway.

A senior official with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), said, “Earlier, due to the ban, work at many stations came to a standstill. Ban after a short interval can lead to serious troubles as the deadline is approaching fast.”