Coastal districts to be exempt from sand policy

Addressing the media, Acharya said exclusion of these districts was being sought as they enjoyed distinctive geographical features. He said the west-flowing rivers were short distance rivers and carried with them large quantities of alluvial soil, which gets deposited every year, before the rivers join the sea. If the fine soil is not removed in time, it will affect the flow of the river leading to a flood situation.

The minister said extraction of sand here onwards should, however, be done manually, and that any kind of mechanised lifting would be banned. Further, 25 per cent of the revenue generated by those who lift sand, has to be diverted to local panchayats. Sand extraction usually takes place for 90 days before the monsoon sets in. The policy may facilitate yearlong extraction of sand, he added.

The draft policy will be readied in two to three days, after which it will be brought before the Cabinet.

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