Illegal sand mining in Suvarnamukhi basin

Land owner gets 6,400 per load of sand, but it is sold at 50,000 in Bangalore

Halkurike tank and Boranakanive reservoir are two large water collecting sources for the taluk. But to reach Boranakanive from Halkurike, water has to pass through Suvarnamukhi basin, which is hit by illegal sand mining.

Water has to flow for about 80 kilometres to reach the reservoir. Suvarnamukhi basin passes through nearly 10 villages provides water for thousands of hectare land. But unchecked sand mining has led to damaging thousands of coconut trees. Sand at the basin has been emptied, so now, mining has spread to coconut grooves.

Residents say that, if three feet of surface sand is removed, sand of good quality is available for nearly 20 feet. So, farmers have allowed sand mining in their fields.

At leat 200 loads of sand in tractors is being transported from Baragur, Otikere, Niruvagal, T Tandya and Goobehalli areas to Tiptur, Tumkur and Bangalore.

“Land owner gets Rs 6,400 per a load of sand and middlemen get Rs 1,600. But when it comes to selling, the rate goes up considerably. In Bangalore, one load of sand cost varies from Rs 48,000 to Rs 50,000” said a source.

Resident of Goobehalli said that, “ Village accountant Vijay Kumar of Shettikere was killed last year for enquiring about sand mining. A youth who went for swimming fell into a heap of sand at the basin.

A worker, who was filling sand died at Otikere after heap of sand fell on him. His associate was injured in the incident. But he was also assaulted for lodging a complaint to the tahsildar against illegal sand mining in the area. Another youth filling sand was killed just twenty days ago.

More areas affected by sand mining include, Shettikere, Navile, Kuppoor, Anekatte, Ankasandra, Baragur, Rangenahalli, Basavapattana, Yerekatte, Nandihalli, Timlapur, Toresooragondanahalli, Appasabi anekatte, Ballekatte and Karehalli.

Residents complain of inaction by authorities even after repeated complaints. “We have submitted memorandum to tahsildar and officers in various departments including gram panchayat secretary. But no one has taken any action,” complain residents.

Borewells in the area and coconut trees have dried up.

Residents are raising doubts about implementation of Hemavathi water project in the area as water has to be supplied through Suvarnamukhi basin.

If sand mining is not checked immediately, there will be no way to flow Hemavathi

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