Last year officials had booked 753 cases of illegal mining and collected more than Rs. 70 lakh

With there being a sand shortage in Dakshina Kannada, the district administration has asked tahsildars and taluk officials to crackdown on the illegal transport of sand to Kerala.

At a review meeting held here on Saturday, Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim said there were around 50 minor roads that lead from the district to Kerala. “There is transportation of sand to Kerala though inter-state transportation has been banned. We have to stop it,” he told revenue and geology officials. Tahsildars informed Mr. Ibrahim and district in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai, who is also the Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment, that they had been conducting raids on trucks smuggling sand to Kerala. In the past year, officials had booked 753 cases of illegal mining or transporting and collected more than Rs. 70 lakh as penalty.

However, Mr. Ibrahim said major transport operations — including information that 1,000 loads had been taken one night — still continued.

“By the time we act on the information, the trucks would be gone,” said an official. The Department of Mines and Geology pointed to severe shortage of staff — including vacant posts of Deputy Director, Senior Geologist and Geologist — that had hampered operations.

Apart from the implementation of the new sand policy that regulates extraction of sand from river beds, the availability of sand here was reduced by a government order earlier this year that directs at least 200 truck loads of sand to be diverted to Bangalore, he said.

Under the new sand policy, 21 blocks had been identified in the district in non-Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) areas and 20 in CRZ areas.

Endosulfan

Meanwhile, Health officials said all identified endosulfan victims in the district will be given identity cards. Out of 2,200 listed persons with disabilities arising due to the usage of the pesticide, 1,772 had identity cards, that allows them a monthly pension (ranging from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 3,000 depending on degree of disability) and free treatment at certain private hospitals.

Mr. Ibrahim said six more day care centres, apart from the two existing, will be set up for the victims. “As operations of the day care cost nearly Rs. 1 lakh per month per victim, we are waiting for government orders to see if it can be done through NGOs,” he said.

Other discussions

A total of 16,457 applications have been received under the rural Akrama Sakrama scheme to legalise encroached property. However, the deputy commissioner noted that “low number of applications” in Moodbidri division (949 applications), Mangalore (2,965), Puttur (1,912) and Sulia (1,251) pointed to a lack of awareness of the scheme.

Minister B. Ramanath Rai said he had petitioned the Central Government to remove the toll gate at Brahmarakootlu on National Highway 75 (Bangalore-Mangalore). He said it should be moved to a place that has been widened.

With 313 acres of the needed 387.06 acres having been acquired for the reservoir of the under-construction Thumbay vented dam, officials said the project can be commissioned by July, 2015.

Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) was asked to expedite the process of constructing a Rs. 11-crore exit road from Mangalore International Airport. Officials said the project had been stalled for 1.5 years due to lack of response from contractors.

Below Poverty Line cards have been distributed for nearly half of the 60,000 applications received for new cards. Food and Civil Supplies officials said the process will be complete within three months.

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