Karnataka to notify policy to crack down on sand mafia next week

Karnataka to notify policy to crack down on sand mafia next week

Karnataka government would issue a notification next week to implement the much-awaited sand policy to crack down on sand mafia and make illegal mining and transportation a cognisable offence, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said today.

"The Cabinet has already approved the draft policy and rules are being formed. We will issue notification mostly on December 9 once rules are framed," he said in the Legislative Assembly which is holding its winter sesssion here.

Under the new policy, Public Works Department would be involved in streamlining such mining activities, Siddaramaiah said.

"PWD will be given powers to extract sand from river beds, stock and sell through tender," he said.

Deputy Commissioners and Tahsildhars would be given more powers to streamline mining activities, Siddaramaiah said.

He said measures would also be taken to check illegal transport of sand from the state to Kerala and Goa.

Siddaramaiah said as many as 1,864 sand blocks had been identified in the state and there was more demand for sand in Bangalore City, Bangalore Rural, Mysore, Tumkur, Dakshina Kannada, Belgaum and other districts.

Availability of sand was around 9 million tonnes as against the demand of 23 million tonnes per annum. In 2012-13, permission had been given to extract sand in 7207 hectares.

MLAs, cutting across partyline, urged the government to check illegal transportation of sand and accord powers to deputy commissioners to streamline the supply.

BJP Floor Leader Jagadish Shettar said there is inequilibrium between demand and supply and the artificial shortage of sand meant for construction has affected the middleclass aspiring to build homes.

Opposition MLAs also demanded that government curb supply of "filter" sand which had led to collpase of some buildings in Bangalore.

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