Rs 5 lakh penalty for sand mining; Bill in Assembly

Thiruvananthapuram: The Legislative Assembly has discussed the Kerala Protection of River Banks and Regulation of Removal of Sand (Amendment) Bill and referred it to the Subject Committee. The Bill proposes to increase the penalty from Rs 25,000 to Rs 5 lakh for mining sand from the rivers in the State.

The additional penalty for continuing offence, which was Rs 1,000 per day, will be increased to Rs 50,000.

The Bill, which was moved by Minister for Land Revenue, K Rajan, empowers the District Collector to fix the price of the confiscated sand and to sell it to individuals or establishments through an auction.

Legislation favouring excess land
The Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, which includes the provision for appealing against the orders of the land tribunals on the issue of giving ownership certificates to buyers of excess land between 1964 and 2005, was also referred to the Subject Committee.

A provision had been brought earlier to consider as a tenant a person who had in possession excess land (up to 4 acres) before 1964 or had bought it later, and to issue him the ownership certificate. However, there was no provision to challenge the orders passed by land tribunals on the issue. The Bill was moved in the House by Minister K. Rajan.

Offices of welfare fund boards
Minister for Education V Sivankutty, introducing the Kerala Abkari Workers Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill and Kerala Motor Transport Workers Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill, said that the proposal to establish offices of the welfare fund boards in district headquarters would be considered favorably. The amendment is aimed at raising the contribution of the workers to the welfare fund from 10% of the monthly wages to 11.5%. The share of the employer will continue to be 10%.

The amendment also mandates raising the contribution by the employer to the gratuity fund from 5% of the worker’s monthly wages to 7%.

Both the Bills were also referred to the Subject Committee.

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