Council for strong policy to curb illegal sand mining

Members in the Legislative Council on Wednesday demanded a foolproof policy for controlling illegal sand mining in the State and conserving rivers for future generations.

Illegal sand mining and use of mechanised boats for extracting sand from river basins posed a threat to the existence of rivers, they contended.

JD(S) member M Srinivas said that sand mafia was active in the State and more than 90 per cent of sand in the State was mined illegally, like iron ore in Bellary. But, the government had failed to take action against those involved in the illegal activity.

He said Kerala had an effective sand mining policy, as a result of which sand was smuggled from Karnataka to meet the demands of the neighbouring state.

JD(S) floor leader M C Nanaiah said middlemen and politicians were involved in illegal sand mining and demanded the formation of a House committee for an inquiry. Leader of the Opposition S R Patil alleged that the committees constituted for monitoring sand mining were only namesake committees and had not made any feasible recommendations.

Chairperson D H Shankaramurthy asked the government to find a solution to the problem and decide on drafting a new policy. If required, the department could elicit suggestions from the legislators, he suggested.

Public Works Department Minister C M Udasi conceded that a change in sand policy was required, as it would help relieve PWD officials from monitoring illegal mining, and allow them to concentrate on implementing works of the department.

He said if the global positioning system was installed at the loading and unloading points, illegal sand mining and transport could be effectively prevented.

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