The stay on sand extraction, ordered by the National Green Tribunal (Southern Zone), Chennai, in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas of Udupi district will continue till October 1.
Ranjan Shetty, advocate for the applicants, Udaya Suvarna and others from Baikady and Kukkude villages in Udupi district, told The Hindu that the sand extraction case was listed for hearing before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Chennai, on Tuesday (September 13), but on account of the Bakrid holiday, it had now been posted to October 1. Hence the stay on sand extraction in CRZ areas of Udupi district, ordered earlier by the NGT, would continue, he said.
Mr. Suvarna and a few other residents of Baikady and Kukkude villages near Brahmavar in Udupi taluk had approached the NGT, four months ago, stating that sand was being mined flouting all norms and environmental laws in the last few years. The NGT had on May 17, 2016, issued an order staying the issuance of sand mining permit or extraction of sand from the rivers of Udupi district.
Reacting to the developments on Tuesday, Balakrishna Shetty, vice-oresident of district unit of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said that the CITU had urged both the Udupi District in-charge Minister Pramod Madhwaraj and District Administration to file an advance petition in this case. “But they had not done it. It just shows their careless attitude,” he said. Owing to the stoppage of sand extraction activities, a large number of workers in building construction industry have been affected over the last four months. They included masons, carpenters, sand extractors, tempo and trucks drivers who transported sand, small contractors and builders. “Even now the authorities can file an advance petition and not wait till October 1,” he said.
“The members of the Udupi District Building and Construction Workers Association, affiliated to the CITU, will launch an indefinite ‘satyagraha’ on the sand mining issue in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office here from September 26,” Mr. Shetty said.
Sudhakar Amin, director, Udupi Jilla Hoige Dhoni Karmikara Sangha, said that the severe shortage of sand in the district because of to the stay order was also affecting construction of low cost houses for the poor under government schemes and other works.
“The authorities should urge the applicants to withdraw their case. They filed the case because they found the authorities to be unresponsive to their complaints,” he said.