MLA sets 2-week deadline to end sand crisis in Udupi

MLA sets 2-week deadline to end sand crisis in Udupi

Raghupathy Bhat

MLA Raghupathy Bhat has threatened to intensify protest if the state government and district administration failed to solve the ongoing row over sand crisis within a fortnight.

Speaking to media here, on Saturday, Bhat accused the state government and district administration of prolonging the issue as the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) had already responded to the queries raised by the deputy commissioner through state government on October 26.

The response was received on November 29.

"But the most disturbing aspect is that the district administration had not revealed about the MoEF's reply on sand extraction," he said.

He said that although the bathymetrical survey was held prior to October 25, the process to initiate the sand extraction is yet to be launched. The bathymetrical survey has identified sand blocks containing 25 lakh tonnes of sand. Last year, sand blocks containing only nine lakh tonnes of sand had been identified. Although the extraction process had begun in August last year, all the 170 sand extractors could only extract only 6,76,000 tonnes of sand, he added.

The MLA charged that the district administration had come up with a new proposal not to entertain the licensees with more than double violations in their permit.

"The unscientific GPS, fitted to the boats, wrongly indicates that the boat had moved beyond its area. Even if the boats move 100 meters from the limited area, it is counted as violations. Such violations when repeated for the second time will result in cancellation of the licence and paying of fine up to Rs 50,000," he said.

He alleged that illegal sand mining and transportation was rampant in the district. There is high demand for M Sand. He urged the minister to intervene and solve the problem at the earliest.