Sand availability will improve in a month: minister

Sand availability will improve in a month: minister
Sand availability in the state will improve in the coming days with the state government taking steps to streamline the process of sand blocks allocation, Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni informed the Legislative Council on Friday.

Replying to M B Bhanu­prakash (BJP), the minister said the Mines and Geology department has identified 322 sand blocks across the state. Of these, the process of allocation through a tendering process had been completed for 222 blocks. Sand extraction had commenced in 11blocks. The allocation of the remaining 100 blocks will be completed within one month, he said.

The BJP members staged a dharna for some time stating that the state government had failed to rein in the sand mafia. Leader of the Opposition K S Eshwarappa said officials of the forest, mines, police and transport departments were hand in glove in illegal extraction and transportation of sand.

An attempt on the lives of a deputy commissioner and an assistant commissioner had been made by the sand mafia when they raided illegal sand mining units operating in Kundapur taluk in Udupi district recently, he pointed out.

He demanded that the government make available sand at a uniform price across the state. The members withdrew their dharna following an assurance by the minister that availability of sand will improve within a month. He said real time monitoring of vehicles with GPS devices had been introduced on a pilot basis in Davangere, Haveri, Gadag and Shivamogga and will be extended to other districts. He said the state government has collected Rs 532.01 crore from sand auctions in the past three years.

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