Mangaluru, Sep 24,2016: DKBMSU, Dakshina Kannada Building Materials Suppliers Union President Randeep Kanchan on Sept 23, Friday charged that ’sand mafia’ at the behest of ’district in-charge minister’ is going on unabated in the coastal area. As a direct protest action, it has been decided to stage a mammoth protest, involving 2,000 and odd agitators, on September 26 Monday at 9 am in front of the DK deputy commissioner’s office.
Without naming the minister, Kanchan, who made an oblique reference to B Ramanath Rai, said, "It is evident with sand mafia at its peak in those areas coming under the minister’s constituency (Bantwal). Most of the sand miners are his men, who have been selling the construction material at exorbitant price in the range of Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000 per transport permit (TP) to Bengaluru. The sand miners who purchase a TP book of 25 permits after paying the prescribed fee of Rs 1,000 per each permits, later sell the same at mentioned price. This has largely disrupted both local contractors and general public".
"A complaint to DK DC deputy Commissioner Dr K G Jagadeesha, the latter asked to lead them towards those spots where sand is being loaded illegally. But, we were not ready to risk the lives of informers, as it was the duty of authorities concerned to trace the illegality," said Kanchan.
Kanchan, who suspected something fishy behind the surge in number of licenced sand miners, gave an account of how the numbers rose from meagre 123 during the tenure of V Ponnuraj as the deputy commissioner, six years ago in 2010, to 427 during the tenure of previous Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim. It might have crossed 1,000 now and yet Nagendrappa, the geologist in the Department of Mines and Geology, is claiming innocence over the issue, he claimed.
Amid this, a section of the sand miners has been pushed to the brink of uncertainty with the district administration not issuing permits. When the issue was brought to the notice of the deputy commissioner, he claimed to have issued the permits way back in the month of August itself, while the officials in the Department of Mines and Geology sing a different tune, he claimed.
Honorary president of the union Kishore Kumar Puttur charged that, even though sand is being loaded to Bengaluru from Bantwal, Thumbe and Adyar, the authorities have turned a blind eye. Strange is those licencees who are in the order of 27 to 29 against 400 odd are still on the waiting list for permits, while those who hobnob with influentials pocket them with ease. Not less than 800 tipper lorry owners and their dependents and civil contractors are in a dilemma.