Pramod Madhwaraj talks tough against illegal sand miners

Pramod Madhwaraj talks tough against illegal sand miners

District In-charge Minister Pramod Madhwaraj said the government will not tolerate any sort of unethical deeds and action will be taken against all those who indulge in illegal activities.

Speaking to reporters over the attack on Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis by sand mining mafia, he said she has the freedom to tackle illegal sand mining without interference. She was asked several times to act stern against the illegal sand miners, he said.

He said that he was immediately informed by her about incident on the day of attack itself and the police chief has also briefed him over the situation. He said he was very much aware of the situation though he was not physically present in the district.

Madhwaraj said Green Tribunal has withheld administrative powers to issue licences for sand mining in CRZ area. If the process has to be started again, certain procedures have to be followed, including strict adherence to the briefing of Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Government of India, over the norms to be followed during the sand extraction.

The petition is set aside as the district administration has failed to follow the guidelines put forth by MoEF when Vishal was the DC. The procedures are started following the meeting held recently, he explained.

He said the matter related to non-CZR ara is before the Cabinet sub-committee. “We need to solve some legal hurdles to formulate a separate sand mining policy for coastal districts. More than five to six meetings have been held by the Cabinet sub-committee with regard to the issue under the leadership of Law Minister Jayachandra,” Madhwaraj said.

A draft Cabinet note will be prepared shortly and it will be circulated to all the members in the committee. After the scrutiny, it will go to the Cabinet. Hence, there is also a problem towards providing licences both in CRZ and non–CRZ areas, he said.

Madhwaraj said the committee will work thoroughly to prevent legal implications in future before drafting the final sand policy for the coastal districts. It should be done meticulously with precautionary measures, he said.

Earlier, when Dr V S Acharya was the minister, there were no set rules and anything could be done. The rule for Mineral Act has been formulated. Former DC Vishal permitted the transport of sand to all other districts, including the state capital. Huge lorries have spoiled the roads in rural areas.

The villagers in Haradi and Baikadi have approached the court and brought a stay. The roads are completely damaged. “I personally requested the former DC not to give licences unnecessarily as it will cause problems in villages. We should take all precautions,” he said.

He also lauded the courageous dedicated and commitment work of both the deputy commissioner and the assistant commissioner. “The Opposition parties have no work other than blaming and holding me responsible for all irregularities,” he said. He said the inquiry is going in the right path and is focused. All accused will be brought to book, he said.