Even as sand truckers continued their 27-day-old stir seeking permits for sand transportation, Karnataka government on Thursday said sand mining activities would be streamlined in the next 15 days.
Karnataka PWD Minister H. C. Mahadevappa said sand, whose price has shot up to Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1 lakh per truck following the strike, would be available for people at affordable price.
Karnataka State Lorry Owners’ and Agents Association is not transporting sand for the last 27 days demanding that the government relax certain provisions in the new sand law.
Mr. Mahadevappa said government will not succumb to pressure mounted by the sand truckers who are seeking permits for sand transportation, besides asking for the withdrawal of criminal cases registered against them.
He maintained that sand mining was posing environmental concerns and unlimited sand extraction cannot be permitted.
The federation is also demanding a comprehensive policy to ensure “legal transportation of sand”, besides monthly permits to truck operators so that sand transported legally is not seized and illegal transportation is checked.
Mr. Mahadevappa said all Deputy Commissioners, who head the district committees for overseeing sand mining activities, have been directed to take necessary steps to register cases for any violation of the rules.
Further steps will be taken on the issue at a meeting convened by Chief Minister with all Deputy Commissioners on January 29, Mr. Mahadevappa said.
The new Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession (Amendment) Rules 2013 will not only curb illegal sand mining but also increase revenue to the exchequer, Mr. Mahadevappa said.
“Only the Public Works Department (PWD) has been authorized to mine and sell sand at rates prescribed by the government,” he added.