Mumbai, (The Hindu): BJP and 10 other groups begin indefinite relay dharna in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office Raghupati Bhat, MLA and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, said on Thursday that the district administration was directly responsible for creating artificial sand shortage in Udupi district.
He was speaking at the indefinite day-and-night relay dharna organised by the district unit of BJP, Maraligagi Horata Samiti and 10 other organisations, in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here.
Mr. Bhat said that the relay dharna would continue till sand was made available. There was no question of opting for a compromise with Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis. A compromise on the issue could be thought of only if the district in-charge Minister, or the Minister for Mines and Geology or the district in-charge Secretary came for talks.
Though Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and district in-charge Minister Jaimala had given oral orders for sand extraction and small trucks to transport sand for construction of houses, the officers were not following them. The district administration was fooling people by citing the guidelines of the National Green Tribunal. The administration should allow all 171 permit holders to extract sand in 28 sand blocks in the district. “If the Deputy Commissioner has no willpower to work in the Udupi district, she should seek a transfer or we will urge the Chief Minister to do so,” he said.
V. Sunil Kumar, Karkala MLA, said that if no solution was found to the sand extraction problem and the people took the law into their own hands, the government and the district administration should hold themselves responsible.
In the non-Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), though the district administration had promised to identify 50 cents sand blocks instead of five acre sand blocks, so far only two blocks had been identified.
There had been no response to the demand to issue permits for transporting sand from Gurpur to Karkala, he said.
Mattar Ratnakar Hegde, president of district unit of the BJP, said that the jobs of a large number of people in the construction sector had been affected because sand extraction had not been solved.
Jerry Vincent Dias, builder, said that the projects of over 100 builders had been affected due to sand extraction problem. They all had bank loans to pay, he said.
Kota Srinivas Poojary, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, S.L. Bhoje Gowda, MLC, B.M. Sukumar Shetty, MLA, met the protestors. The talks held by Ms. Francis with Mr. Bhat in the evening to convince him of the steps taken by the administration failed and the protest continued.
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