Mangaluru, Apr 18, 2018 : Contrary to allegations that politicians are behind illegal sand extraction in CRZ area, illegal extraction thrives even when the model code of conduct is in force.
Motorised large steel boats and earth movers are still deployed to extract and load sand along the CRZ.
Dredgers too are being deployed to suck sand during night at some places on the banks of the Netravathi, residents of the area allege.
Guidelines by Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), as reiterated by the southern bench of National Green Tribunal in the matter of sand extraction from CRZ in Udupi district, stipulate that sand from rivers in CRZ areas could be extracted only to clear blocks for fishing boats.
The guidelines further stipulate that only dinghy boats without motors could be deployed to extract sand by traditional sand extractors.
Violations of these guidelines appear flagrant at many places, including Adyarkatte, Adyar and Arkula on the northern bank of Netravathi; at Adam Kudru on its southern bank and near Railway bridge at Malavoor across Phalguni (Gurupura).
The number of traditional sand extractors rose phenomenally, from about one hundred to over 400 between 2011 and 2015 even as the administration used MoEFCC guideline of “clearing way for fishing boats” to legalise sand extraction for commercial purposes.
Only after 2016, there was some decline in the number of permits to about 160 and now to 100 during the tenures of K.G. Jagadeesha and incumbent S. Sasikanth Senthil as Deputy Commissioners.
DK DC Senthil made GPS mandatory even for boats and sand blocks to weed out unscrupulous extractors.
The DC told The Hindu that the administration has been able to curb illegal extraction to a large extent which was seconded by Mayoor Ullal, president of Sand Extractors and Transporters’ Association.
Association pesident Ullal said traditional extractors have been following administration’s diktat; yet there are A few black sheep which have to be reined in by the administration.