10K cases of illegal sand mining in K'taka in 3 years

Over 10K cases of illegal sand mining in Karnataka in 3 years

The government has registered 6,116 FIRs against offenders and has levied a cumulative penalty of about Rs 20 crore

Representative Image. Credit: DH File Photo

Karnataka has seen over 10,000 cases of illegal sand mining over the last three years even as the state government is trying hard to introduce a new policy to regulate the availability of this key commodity. 

According to government data tabled in the Legislative Council, illegal sand mining has gone unabated even during the pandemic with about 3,451 identified cases in 2020-21 and 3,193 cases in 2019-20. In 2018-19, there were 3,869 cases identified, adding up to 10,513 cases over the last three years.

Further, just over the last eight months between January and August 2021, there have been 290 cases of illegal sand transport and 35 cases of illegal sand mining. The majority of such unauthorised transport have been found in Kalaburagi, Raichur, Hosapete, Haveri and Chikkamagaluru. 

The government has registered 6,116 FIRs against offenders and has levied a cumulative penalty of about Rs 20 crore.

Karnataka needs about 45 million metric tonnes of sand, of which 30 million metric tonnes comes from manufactured sand (M-Sand) units. Another 4.5 million tonnes come from riverways and from licenced mining on patta lands. Then, some 2 million tonnes are procured from other states. This leaves the state with a shortfall of 8.5 million tonnes.

Lack of regulation has resulted in a shortage of sand that has impacted development works, including government projects and construction of houses. 

This, in spite of claims by the government of having constituted district and taluk sand committees, consisting of officials from revenue, police, forest, public works and regional transport departments, to check illegal mining. 

The new sand policy, which the government has been proposing for at least over a year but is yet to implement, is expected to reduce corruption in transportation and distribution by easing a few norms within each district. 

Mines & Geology Minister Achar Halappa told DH the government is making efforts to implement the new sand policy within a month’s time. “This will largely regulate the mining, transportation and distribution issues,” he said.

The government will also install GPS on licensed trucks to monitor the amount of sand being transported, apart from handing over the responsibility to panchayats to monitor mining and sand distribution at the village-level. 

Apparently, the new policy will allow for sand to be booked online.

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