Mangaluru, (The Hindu): Though a bathymetry survey, by a private agency, and satellite remote sensing as well as GIS by NITK-Surathkal has identified 22 sand bars in rivers under the Coastal Regulation Zone, the administration is likely to allow sand extraction only in 12 bars as allowed by the Karnataka State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA).
Deputy Commissioner S. Sasikanth Senthil, who is also the chairman of District Sand Monitoring Committee, said that the authority has informed him that sand extraction could be allowed only in 12 identified sand bars in Phalguni (Gurupura) and Netravathi rivers.
Amba Shetty, Head of the Department, Applied Mechanics, National Institute of Technology and his colleague, U. Pruthviraj, undertook the task of identifying sand bars as per Sustainable Management Guidelines 2016 and compute the volume of sand available for extraction in individual bars, upon request by the administration. The team was provided details of the bathymetry survey conducted by a private agency hired by it to assess sand availability in river courses. The team identified 13 sand bars in Netravathi having about 4.3 lakh tonnes of sand and nine bars in Phalguni with 4.2 lakh tonnes of sand to provide a draft of 1.5m to fishing and tourist vessels.
It has also recommended exclusion of fish breeding zones, already deeply excavated river courses, places within 200-500m of bridges etc., from sand extraction. Mr. Senthil said the administration already has the database of traditional sand extractors, who were doing the work before 2011, and permits will be issued only to such persons.
Ban on using machinery and motorised boats to extract and load sand will strictly be enforced, he said. Sand extraction will be permitted to provide a safe channel of 1.5m draft for tourist and fishing vessels and not at the entire length and breadth of the rivers, he added. While there has been a clamour to resume sand extraction from rivers in CRZ area beacuse of the ease of extraction, lack of strict monitoring and cheap labour, the administration is making every effort to reduce sand extraction so as to protect the already battered coastal eco-system.
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