‘Departments not issuing permits despite availability of sand’

Sand lorry owners, rallying under the banner of the Mysore City Local Lorry Owners’ Association, staged a demonstration at Bogadi road junction here on Sunday protesting against the “apathy of government departments.” They alleged that the departments were not issuing permits to transport sand, despite its availability in the district.

Leading the demonstration was association president B. Revanna, who said that members would also express solidarity with those lorry owners who have gone on an indefinite strike across the State since Saturday midnight. Over 5,000 lorries in Mysore city alone, including around 2,100 sand lorries, had stopped operations, Mr. Revanna said. The association members have placed several specific demands in Mysore district.

The authorities should issue one permit a day to each lorry owner, enabling them to transport sand directly from the Public Works Department stockyards. Criminal cases booked against lorry owners should be dropped; owners facing such charges should be levied the minimum penalty; and lorries should be released. More than 500 lorry owners face cases in Mysore, Mr. Revanna added. He also observed that only four permits were issued to each transporter in December 2013.

The Regional Transport Office, which authorises lorry owners to transport sand after the PWD provides the permit, had stopped this practice four months ago. This must be resumed, he said. The other major demand was that the State government’s stipulation, that candidates looking to secure driving licences should have passed VIII standard, be dropped.

Lorry owners also alleged that they were harassed by the Mysore city police while shifting sand from the T. Narasipur stockyards. They wanted to know why cases were not being booked against those involved in sand extraction.

Mr. Revanna wondered why permits were not being issued to the lorry owners, as over 1 lakh loads of sand were available in the T. Narasipur stockyards. Mysore city alone needs over 1,500 loads of sand a day, he said.

Meeting

Mysore district in-charge Minister V. Srinivas Prasad presided over a meeting at the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Saturday.

He had asked officials to exercise care not to inconvenience the public in terms of sand supply. At the same time, officials must ensure steps to prevent violation of rules pertaining to sand extraction and supply. An extra vigil is required to stop use of machines in extracting sand from riverbeds, while the role of dumpers and loaders was confined only to the riverbanks.

Deputy Commissioner C. Shikha told officials of the Department of Mines and Geology to identify land for installing a weigh bridge at T. Narasipur. She added that a meeting of the district sand committee would be convened on Monday.

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