Mangaluru, Nov 22, 2020: Speaking at a ‘meet the press’ programme, organised by the Dakshina Kannada District Union of Working Journalists and the Mangaluru Press Club on Saturday, Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra said, the district administration will set up joint check-posts manned by personnel from the Revenue, the police, and the Mines and Geology departments at vulnerable locations to curb illegal sand extraction and transportation.
He said 88 traditional sand extractors were issued permits to remove sand from rivers in coastal regulation zone in the district. Strict monitoring is in place with the use of long-range high power cameras, compulsory installation of GPS for boats and trucks etc.
Having learned of a lack of coordination between the Revenue, the police, and the Mines and Geology departments in curbing illegal extraction and transport, a meeting of officials from these departments has been scheduled next week, Dr. Rajendra added.
Illegal laterite stone mining:
Village accountants (VA) and panchayat development officers (PDO) should ensure no illegal laterite stone mining takes place in their limits. If VAs and PDOs fail to curb illegal stone quarrying, disciplinary action will be initiated against them.
The administration will launch a drive to regularise illegal stone quarrying provided records were in order. At the same time, those indulging in stone quarrying even after being given an option to regularise the same would also be heavily penalised, he cautioned.
The DC said the Mines and Geology Department had been giving licence to quarry laterite stones from patta (own) lands without keeping the district task force on mining in the loop.
This was already brought to the notice of the Industries and Commerce Department, seeking necessary correction.
While no one could quarry laterite stones from government land, there were reports of people having quarrying licence for own land indulging in illegal quarrying on government land.
The administration has obtained technical reports on illegal stone/muck extraction from places namely, Balepuni, Phajeer, Mudipu, etc., he added. Speaking about infrastructure works being undertaken in the city, Dr. Rajendra noted that several works got delayed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One such work was improving the Hampanakatte junction that has now been taken up. Admitting that the public was inconvenienced, the DC said that the work would be completed soon.
Dr. Rajendra also said he would get feedback from the public about the Smart City projects as people were upset with many of the works being executed.
Dr. Rajendra said maintenance of popular beaches, including Panambur, Tannirbhavi, Surathkal etc., would be handed over to private partners through tenders.
The heli-tourism package for international tourists visiting New Mangalore Port that has already started would be fine-tuned with advance booking facility.
Fall in COVID-19 cases:
There was a considerable reduction in the number of COVID-19 positive cases being reported in the district with the positive rate coming down to 1.08% for an average daily test of 3,500, said Mr. Rajendra.
The positive rate was as high as 25% when an average of 1,000 tests were conducted earlier. Following the reduction, officials from various departments were able to concentrate on their routine works thereby giving fillip for development.
However, one cannot remain complacent with the present situation as the second wave of COVID-19 was expected to surface in January. The administration has geared up to face any eventuality, he said. District Health Officer Ramachandra Bairy and others were present.