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Huge clamour for easy sand, but no takers for non-CRZ sand in coast

Published On : 14 Oct 2018   |  Reported By : Courtesy The Hindu   |  Pic On: Photo credit The Hindu

Mangaluru, (The Hindu): While there is a clamour to open sand extraction from rivers in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) in the three coastal districts of Karnataka, there is little interest in extracting sand that is abundantly available in rivers in non-CRZ areas.

Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil told The Hindu that following lukewarm response for tenders, he had to allot six blocks in non-CRZ to government agencies while two were being given to private parties. There are another 17 blocks for which tenders will shortly be invited, said A.M. Niranjan, geologist with the Mines and Geology Department.

In Udupi district too, two sand blocks have been allotted to the Public Works Department following lukewarm response to tenders. Uttara Kannada district too is strictly following the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) guidelines regarding sand extraction in CRZ, said Additional Deputy Commissioner Suresh Itnal.

Between 2011 and 2017, coastal districts witnessed uncontrolled sand extraction and illegal transportation to far-off places, including Bengaluru and Kerala. A truck-load of sand available for about Rs 3,000 in the local market was being sold for not less than Rs 50,000 in other places.

The district administrations of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada have now tightened the noose on sand extraction in the CRZ area, particularly after the National Green Tribunal reprimanded them for circumventing the MoEFCC guidelines. Utilising the exemption on sand extraction in CRZ area for providing safe navigation channel for fishing boats, they had issued hundreds of licences to extract sand.

There is a hue and cry — supported by leaders cutting across party lines — in coastal districts to open CRZ areas for sand extraction.

National Environment Care Federation secretary Shashidhar Shetty said making easy money is behind the clamour for CRZ sand, where boundaries are not fixed and one can extract any amount of sand. Very few evince interest in non-CRZ sand as there are lower chances to plunder sand and smuggle it to neighbouring States, as boundaries are marked and the mining area clearly demarcated.

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