State can identify sand mining communities in coast

In its letter to the state, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests said the state, on its own, could decide on identifying traditional sand mining communities, whether they were in the profession of removal of sand prior to November 8, 2011, or newly considered for the job. 

The Centre has asked the state government to take a decision at the earliest on allowing sand mining in the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) in coastal Karnataka as per norms.  

In its letter to the state, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests said the state, on its own, could decide on identifying traditional sand mining communities, whether they were in the profession of removal of sand prior to November 8, 2011, or newly considered for the job. 

The Ministry clarified to the state that “traditional coastal communities may be defined as normally understood by the word traditionally.” 

Karnataka also sought the Ministry’s opinion on whether the state could consider persons not in the profession of removal of sand prior to November 8, 2011, and grant permits for removal of sand bars in the CRZ area as traditional communities.

Recently, when a delegation led by Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda met Union Minister for Environment and Forests Harsha Vardhan on sand mining in coastal Karnataka, Harsha Vardhan clarified that the Central government’s intervention was not required to resolve the crisis in Udupi district.

“With the Centre writing to the state clarifying all doubts, the state should take immediate steps to allow traditional sand miners to remove sand in CRZ areas,” Gowda said.

In Udupi district case, the sand blocks have already been identified in CRZ area. Even traditional sand miners for extracting sand have been identified.

The Deputy Commissioner has to only grant permission to identify traditional sand miners to extract sand, Gowda said.

However for sand mining, only traditional method should be followed and no machines should be used, the minister said.

In coastal Karnataka, mostly in Udupi district, there was confusion as to who were traditional sand mining communities, whether they were in the job prior to November 8, 2011 or new persons should be included.

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State can identify sand mining communities in coast

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