Mangaluru: July 13, 2015: In just three months, four lakh tonnes of sand has been extracted from riverbeds within the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) in Dakshina Kannada district between March and June this year. This is equivalent to the quantum of sand extracted during the preceding 11 months — April 2014 to February 2015.
Not less than 40,000 truckloads of sand thus has been extracted from the two lifeline rivers of the district during the last three months, before the district administration imposed ban on extraction during monsoon. The ban was imposed following directions from the National Green Tribunal, which said fish breeding would severely get affected without such a ban.
Sources in the Department of Mines and Geology in the district attribute the sudden escalation in sand extraction to the soaring demand for sand from Bengaluru and surrounding regions. The State government too had directed the Dakshina Kannada administration to allow inter-district movement of sand trucks as it was not available in the neighbouring districts of Bengaluru.
Earlier, even inter-district movement of sand was prohibited. After the ban was lifted, builders and contractors in the district have been crying hoarse that they are not getting required sand and alleged that miners were providing sand only for inter-district movement.
Despite the closure of Shiradi Ghat, at least 200 truckloads of sand were transported every day towards the hinterland through the Charmadi and Sampaje Ghats. Following frequent complaints, the administration had made it compulsory that only six-wheel trucks should transport sand.
Besides transportation to neighbouring districts, sand was being illegally transported to neighbouring Kerala where sand extraction has completely been banned. While the administration had been talking tough to contain inter-State transportation, the transporters made use of circuitous routes to transport sand.
Terming extraction of four lakh tonnes of sand in three months as large scale, K.S. Jayappa, professor of Marine Geology with Mangalore University, said the sand otherwise would have reached the sea and contributed to formation of the beach.
Recurrent sea erosion along the West Coast could be attributed to indiscriminate sand extraction from rivers, Mr. Jayappa said.