'Let traditional sand miners extract in non-CRZ areas'

Udupi ZP members ask to ease laws to overcome sand shortage

Zilla Panchayat members unanimously urged for relaxation in the law against sand mining activities in order to overcome acute shortage of sand in the district.

Raising the issue at the general body meeting, members Parthap Hegde Marali, Janardhan Thonse and Babu Shetty demanded that the traditional sand miners be permitted to extract sand in non-CRZ area as scarcity of sand has totally hampered economic activities in the district. “It is a major lapse on the part of the district administration. The poor labourers are jobless and the needy should buy a truckload of sand at Rs 19,000, which is not affordable,” they said.

Member Suresh Batwada alleged that nearly 50 lorries carry sand cross the border of Uttara Kannada after 12 midnight escaping police security. Other members also expressed dissatisfaction over the poor quality M-Sand that is made available in the district.

Assistant Commissioner Shilpa Nag said that as many as four sand blocks are tendered and another 16 are identified in non-CRZ area. She added that 600 cubic meters of sand is seized and Rs 35 lakh fine is collected. “In order to stop the transport of sand to the neighbouring districts, the deputy commissioner has instructed us to take stringent action. A CCTV camera is installed at Shiroor, the area adjoining Uttara Kannada district. The sand extracted in non-CRZ is reserved on priority for the construction works initiated by the government,” she said and confirmed that e-tendering is done for the sand reserved for government works.

She added that once the 16 blocks were identified and approved by the task force appointed for the purpose, the proposal was sent to the deputy commissioner. He in turn ordered that the proposal be submitted for verification by an expert committee. The experts from NITK Suratkal are working and the report will be submitted, following which tendering would be done for the blocks, said the officer.

The members urged for a permanent solution and CEO Priyanka Mary Francis, echoing the similar idea, said allowing everyone to extract sand would be chaotic and result in unruliness.

The other issue discussed in the meeting was the toll collected by Navyug Constructions at Sasthana. Member Raghavendra Kanchan said that the assured work is not completed by the Company. He demanded that ‘KA-20’ registered vehicles should be given relaxation from the toll. The AC said that a technical committee comprising the PWD executive engineer is set up, which would give a report at the earliest over the present condition of the national highway in the district.

Member Thonse said the concept of reserve forest should be removed to facilitate free movement for the people in the areas within the jurisdiction of reserve forest. Referring to the wild animal menace at Havanje, the member said seven rural roads pass through the reserve forest and pedestrians are attacked by wild animals.

The ACF said that a proposal to fence the area is sent to the government for approval.

Member Jyothi Harish said that there is shortage of teachers at the government primary school at Renjala.

The DDPI said that guest teachers are not willing to come as they are hired for Rs 100 per day to supplant teachers who go on leave, resign suddenly or are removed.

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