Sand looted, so imported from Malaysia: CM

Sand looted, so imported from Malaysia: CM

Revenue Minister R V Deshpande has a word with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in the Assembly on Tuesday. DH Photo

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy took a jibe at the previous Congress government’s decision to import sand from Malaysia during a heated debate on illegal sand mining on Tuesday.

“All the sand was looted. That’s why officials want to bring sand from Malaysia,” Kumaraswamy said in the Assembly. Several BJP legislators raised the issue of sand mining after their floor leader B S Yeddyurappa said the sand mafia was running riot in many parts of the state. “The government is also involved in this, with the police taking bribes to allow sand mining,” Yeddyurappa said.

Chikkanayakanahalli legislator J C Madhuswamy said sand mining was rampant in Chikkanayakanahalli, Hosadurga, Hiriyur and other places. “The entire politics revolves around sand mining. There are killings happening because of this. The only thing left to do is bury bodies. For how long will we remain passive? The poor are not getting any sand to build their homes,” he said.

He pointed out that Kumaraswamy, before he became chief minister, was vociferously critical of the government’s inaction to control sand mining. “You were so vocal about it. Will you now order an investigation?” Madhuswamy said.

Thirthahalli MLA Araga Jnanendra pointed out that in his constituency, police personnel were not to be found in the police station as all of them were busy ensuring not a single sand truck left without their notice, implying that the police were complicit in the illegal activity.

Nargund legislator C C Patil highlighted the issue of sand mining in Gadag district and demanded that an investigation be ordered. “Sand mining is bigger than iron ore mining.”  

Kumaraswamy, however, said he needed time to crack down on sand mining. “This has a long history. Whose government was it that brought in the sand policy and then changed it? Let them ask their conscience. I can’t fix the system alone. If we (legislators) are strong, why will it happen? It’s been only a month. Give me time,” he said, not before criticising the decision to import sand from Malaysia.

Yeddyurappa said the BJP would offer “full support” to the government to help curb illegal sand mining.

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