GPS, colour coding mandatory for boats engaged in sand extraction

The district administration has made GPS and colour coding for boats engaged in sand extraction in CRZ areas mandatory. This is an effort to check illegal sand mining in CRZ areas and to identify the boats engaged in sand mining, Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil S said.

In reply to a query from reporters on Thursday, he said that GPS installation and colour coding will be completed within 15 to 20 days. In fact, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has banned sand mining in CRZ areas, he said. "Permits are being granted only for removal of sand bars to facilitate movement of boats to avoid flooding and to check intrusion of salt water. In fact, sand should be removed traditionally without using any machines," he said.

Permits were issued for 60 persons in 2011 for removal of sand. However, the number of permits issued rose to 400 in 2014-15. The district committee has decided to issue permits only for those traditional sand extractors who have documents to prove that they have been extracting sand for the last three years. Accordingly, 40 permits have been issued so far. The applications of 63 persons are pending, he said.

He said that the district committee has allowed the use of only three boats by a permit holder for removal of sand. Directions have already been issued on fitting GPS and installing colour code for the boats.

Depending on the availability of the sand, the committee will take a decision on issuing permits for the applicants. There is no shortage of sand in the district, he claimed.

"It is the duty of the district administration and the general public to protect CRZ areas. If we fail to protect CRZ areas, then the problems of salt water intrusion will increase," he warned.

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