Cabinet sub-panel to frame policy on sand mining

Cabinet sub-panel to frame policy on sand mining

The State government will constitute a Cabinet sub-committee to decide measures to effectively tackle illegal sand mining in the state.

Minister for Public Works Dr H C Mahadevappa told presspersons here on Tuesday that he would be heading the sub-committee to be set up soon. “We will try to prepare a policy in the next three months to regulate sand mining.”

“It is definitely a burning issue which needs to be addressed soon. We will take adequate steps to ensure that illegal sand mining will not continue,” said the minister.

Strict instructions have been given to all the superintendents of police and deputy commissioners to take action against those involved in illegal sand mining.

“The Cabinet sub-committee will also look into permission given by the previous government for sand mining in the river beds in the Western Ghats,” he said. Task force has been created at the district level in Kodagu to tackle illegal sand mining, he added.

Road development

Asked whether there was any proposal to levy toll on the state highways, Dr Mahadevappa said that charging road user fee was imperative.

“The toll is necessary to maintain the roads. We will see how best the government can minimise the burden on commuters,” he remarked.

Dr Mahadevappa said that he had an informal discussion with the newly-appointed Union Minister for Surface Transport and Highways, Oscar Fernandes, before he took charge. Fernandes has assured that he will take the lead in providing better quality roads in the state. The Public Works department (PWD) needs around Rs 10,000 crore for the development of national highways, state highways and major roads in the state, Dr. Mahadevappa said.

On the worsening situation in Shiradi Ghat road, the minister said: “It was one of the major issues I discussed with Fernandes. We will try to identify a contractor who will take up the project.”

The PWD had called for tenders thrice for the construction of the Shiradi Ghat road. But, tenders evoked no response on all the three occasions.

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