Lorry owners keep off roads, seek relaxation in sand policy

The city requires at least 1,000 loads of sand everyday

Lorry owners and drivers, in the city, launched an indefinite strike on Monday night seeking fulfilment of five demands related to relaxation in the existing sand policy.

The lorry owners and drivers have formed a coordination committee with president of Mysore District Lorry Owners Federation B Kodandaram as chairman to press for their demands and also to chalk out the course of their protests. They said, if their demands are not met, all stakeholders like sand extraction and transportation workers, construction workers and contractors will stage a protest at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

Demands

Their demands are: Permits should be issued everyday to all lorries to transport sand; Police department should stop filing criminal cases against lorry owners and drivers; instead of issuing sand permits directly to consumers, permits should be issued to lorry owners; drop the system of installing GPS on lorries; and stop harassment of lorry owners and drivers by various departments, including the Police department.
Addressing a press conference, here, on Monday, president of the Mysore City Local Lorry Owners Association B Revanna — a member of the coordination committee — said, the Chief Minister, PWD Minister, Revenue Minister and the district administration were responsible for the exorbitant price of sand, causing hardships to the people.

He said, the problem had aggravated and sand was being sold at Rs 40,000 per load even though the ministers who belong to the district, could have solved the problem.
“We have been appealing to the district administration since four months, by submitting several memoranda, seeking a solution to the problem. But, the authorities concerned are creating artificial scarcity of sand to help vested interests,” he alleged.

He appealed to the lorry owners not to avail the 30 to 40 permits issued per day to lorry owners by the PWD till all their demands were met.

Kodandaram said, the city alone required at least 1,000 loads of sand everyday, but the district administration issued not more than 100 permits. “Over 1,500 lorries are dependent on sand.

So 1,500 lorry owners, an equal number of drivers, 4,000 labourers related with extraction and transportation of sand, 8,000 construction workers and thousands of people constructing houses are affected due to the flawed sand policy of the government,” he said.

GPS

The lorry owners, who have fitted GPS systems are unnecessarily paying their rent even though they do not get sand permits most of the days, he pointed out.

Puttaswamy, president of T Narsipur Lorry Owners Welfare Association, also member of the coordination committee, said, besides, river and lake beds, sand can be extracted from ‘patta’ lands, so the authorities should consider this in view of conserving rivers and lakes. Prasanna Kumar, President of Mysore Tipper Owners Association, said, if the government does not change the existing sand policy, lorry owners would be forced to end their lives, like the farmers in distress.

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