Sand kicks up dust; policy from November 21

Despite heavy resistance from truckers minister prefers to go ahead

However, much committed to implementing the policy, the district in-charge minister S A Ramdas said the new sand policy would be implemented in the district despite opposition by the transporters.

As per the minister, a lorry load of sand would cost Rs 4000 as announced before, and this has some overhead such as labour and unloading charges, which would be deemed extra.

After a mega showdown during first half of the meeting, which ended in chaos even as it was conducted amidst tight police security with SP Manish Karbekar, and deputy commissioner of police Basavaraj Malagatti present on the dais along with assistant commissioner, and other heads of revenue and RTO departments, the meeting was shifted to the Deputy Commissioner’s office for the later half.  

The meeting held at Senate Bhavan was attended by majority of the transporters also members of Local Lorry Owners Association. It turned into quite a spectacle with members partially staging a walk out an hour into the meeting. In the wake of new sand policy close to implementation in the district, the participants flatly refuted the conditions set by the district administration for extracting sand from designated reserves.

Among other conditions, the members were also livid about manual extraction of sand and wanted to know where would they find such skilled labour, and who would pay in case the lives of those engaged in lifting sand from the depths of the river bed, are lost.

The outburst followed the sharing of details by officers of various departments about the conditions and preparations to implement the sand policy.  Minister’s assurances about state installing Global Positioning System, with all expenses including the one incurred every month towards data usage, was met with much resistance as the transporters said the state ‘looked at them like criminals who needed some fixing.’

After the minister’s suggestion to establish sand helpline (Mysore: 2420288, Hunsur: 251955) the protesting members said it was futile since the system would stop functioning within a short span of time, leaving them in lurch.

Responding to the system which now requires people to submit application before hand about the total requirement of sand depending on the plan of the house, and submit a DD to procure sand from the yard, the members said the minister was not in touch with the ground reality. “Different grades of sand is required for different purposes. Would you even know that?” a member dared the minister.

After series of heated exchange of words, the meeting ended abruptly to begin again at DC’s office where the minister announced new sand policy coming into force from November 21.

When ‘hafta’ stole the show
Just as the words got hotter between sand contractors and the minister, Ramdas lost his cool and said the leader of opposition had said sand had turned into a ‘dhandha’ in the district.

When one of the participants, in a fit of rage said this was being done to extract ‘hafta’ (bribe) from them, the minister lost it completely. “Had I remained mum on sand policy implementation, hafta would have come to me automatically. Isn’t it? I want nothing but larger good from all this,” said an emotional Ramdas.

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