Rules empower DCs to streamline sale of sand

The government will issue a notification next week to implement the much-awaited sand policy to crack down on illegal extraction and sale of sand in the State.

In a reply to Narayana Gowda (Janata Dal-S) in the Assembly here on Tuesday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the Cabinet decided on November 21 to formulate rules to the new sand policy following complaints of illegal sand extraction and sale of sand. New rules had been framed and a notification would be issued on December 9.

As per the new rules, deputy commissioners and tahsildars would be given more powers to streamline the sale of sand and also to check unauthorised extraction and sale of sand, Mr. Siddaramaiah said. The government was aware of shortage of sand affecting construction activities. He said that the officials concerned would be directed to check illegal transportation of sand to neighbouring States such as Kerala and Goa.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that 1,864 sand blocks had been identified in the State. Sand was in much demand in Bangalore city and Bangalore Rural, Mysore, Tumkur, Dakshina Kannada and Belgaum districts.

The availability of sand stood at 9 million tonnes against a demand for 23 million tonnes a year, he said.

In 2012–13, permission was given to extract sand in 7,207 hectares of land. As per the new policy, the Public Works Department would be given powers to extract sand from riverbeds, to stock and sell through tender.

“Suggestions given by members have been incorporated in the new policy,” he added.

Govind M. Karjol of the BJP urged the government not to involve the Public Works Department in the sand business as it had been vested with the duty to construct roads and bridges.

Karnataka Janata Paksha Floor Leader and former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa pointed out that sand from the State was being transported to Goa and wanted the government to check it. BJP Floor Leader Jagadish Shettar urged the government to take emergent steps as middlemen were making money through sale of sand.

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