Residents of Samudrahalli in Chitradurga taluk staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Tuesday demanding immediate action against those involved in the illegal extraction of sand from the Suvarnamukhi river in the taluk.
In a memorandum submitted to Deputy Commissioner V.P. Ikkeri, the residents stated that the river was a major source of water for agricultural activities in Kundalguru, Samudrahalli, Mydanahalli, Huvina Hadagali and Kodihalli villages.
Due to the illegal extraction of sand, the water source has completely dried up, the protesters said.
They added that the standing crops in those villages were withering due to the water shortage.
One year back, the district administration had given permission for sand extraction in the river by inviting tenders, after legal tender holders completed their extraction.
Now, however, some people, supported by elected representatives and officers, have started extracting sand by using lightweight machines and have dug more than eight feet into the river, they said.
The protesters alleged that taluk-level officers had not taken any steps to stop the extraction even after repeated pleas. If the same situation continues, residents of the abovementioned villages will be permanently deprived of their water source and will face severe problems in the future, they said.
They also demanded that the district administration initiate legal action against such people and also recover the money earned from the illegal extraction of sand in the taluk.
They appealed to the Deputy Commissioner to initiate action before the residents lost their patience and took the law into their hands.