Machinery being deployed to extract and load sand in CRZ against norms

Close on the heels of the visit of Mines and Geology Minister C.C. Patil to the district and his warning against illegal sand extraction last week, sand extractors in the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) Netravathi basin have resumed using machinery to extract sand from the riverbed and load sand onto trucks.

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as the National Green Tribunal have time and again reiterated sand from CRZ should not be extracted using machinery. They have also made it clear only sand dunes that obstruct movement of fishing boats should be extracted.

However, sand extractors have been using large motorised boats to extract sand from the Netravathi riverbed, right from Jeppinamogaru near the city till Pudu village near Bantwal in the CRZ limits. They have also deployed earthmovers and bulldozers to load sand brought to Dhakkes (landing points) on the banks of the river onto trucks in clear violation of the stipulated rules.

Sources in the Mines and Geology Department said that the department has been taking action against the use of machinery in sand extraction as well as loading. The department would again launch another operation to curb such illegalities, the sources said.

On the other hand, sand extractors in the Phalguni (Gurupura) river on the northern side of the city, though use large steel boats, do not use motors to drive their boats. Sand loading onto trucks also takes place using manpower.

Traditional fishermen had recently raised their voice against indiscriminate sand extraction from riverbeds in the CRZ and said that this has snatched their livelihood. Neither they were able to catch fish nor could they extract Maruvai (clam) from riverbeds as huge quantities of extracted sand make riverbeds deeper.

The then Deputy Commissioner S. Sasikanth Senthil, as the chairman of the District Sand Monitoring Committee, had brought down the number of permits from over 400 to under 100, granting permits only to those who had been extracting sand for a long time. The action had put the brakes on indiscriminate sand extraction from CRZ thus preventing damage to the coastal ecology. Though his successors, Sindhu B. Rupesh and K.V. Rajendra, did not enhance the number of permits, indiscriminate sand extraction using machinery has resumed.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 6:12:39 PM |

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