CRZ sand extraction: Greens hail, extractors criticise NGT verdict

The May 18 judgment of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) virtually prohibiting sand extraction from rivers in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) in Udupi district was welcomed by environmentalists while those engaged in sand extraction termed it “injustice” to traditional sand extractors.

NGT’s Southern Bench in Chennai, after hearing in length Uday Suvarna and Dinesh Kunder from Udupi district through their advocate Ranjan Shetty, said the way sand was being allowed to be extracted by the government through collecting nominal royalty and allowing it to be sold tantamount to “sand mining.” Sand mining is a prohibited activity in CRZ, the Bench comprising Judicial Member K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Satyagopal Korlapati said.

Sand bars could be removed only by the local community using traditional method only to facilitate safe navigation of fishing vessels while the extracted sand cannot be sold in the market. It may be used to nourish beaches, river beds or river banks, NGT said, thereby halting sand extraction that was being done on large commercial scale along the Karnataka coast.

Circumventing notification

Mangaluru-based National Environment Care Federation Convener Shashidhar Shetty hailed the judgment as a strong message against exploitation of natural resources for commercial purposes. Over the years, river beds in CRZ were mined extensively in the guise of clearing navigation path for fishing boats to circumvent CRZ notification. NGT has clearly understood this methodology and that there were few fishing boats in rivers of CRZ and passed the order, he said.

Approaching Supreme Court

Traditional sand extractors, however, said they were following CRZ guidelines as well as the NGT order of February, 2017, while extracting sand in Dakshina Kannada. Mayoor Ullal from the traditional sand extractors association of DK and said they will challenge the judgment before the Supreme Court.

Since no permits were issued this year, illegal sand extraction and transportation was rampant and the judgment would pave way for more illegal activities, he cautioned.

Letter to DCs

Advocate Ranjan Shetty on Friday sent out separate letters to Deputy Commissioners of the three coastal districts, who also head the district sand monitoring committees, asking them to honour the NGT verdict. Petitioners had to approach the Tribunal as the CRZ notification, guidelines of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the February 2017 NGT verdict on sand extraction were not followed in the three districts. He urged the DCs to put a complete halt to sand extraction in CRZ rivers.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2022 4:27:26 am |