Udupi, Mar 19, 2017: It is reported that Udupi district minister Pramod Madhwaraj on Saturday directed officials to permit removal of sand in CRZ areas to ensure availability of sand for construction purpose. This process is in line with the order given by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and a notification of Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) that allows for sand bars that hinder movement of boats in rivers to be removed manually.
Chairing a meeting of officials of sand mining committee at the DC’s office in Manipal, the minister who took into account views expressed by officials, said the current sand crisis haunting the district would not have arisen if they had heeded his advice given in the past. Noting that sand bars in the river mouth pose a danger to fishing operations, he directed officials to start the process of removal of sand taking the opinion of officials in the department of fisheries.
The minister directed Kumar, official of the department of mines and geology, to clarify on the issue of constituting the new committee and also return the royalty paid by 170 permit holders who had done so during 2016-17. Directing DC Priyanka Mary Francis to empower assistant commissioners to identify traditional fishermen, the minister instructed the officials to check their Aadhaar card, voter ID and current residential address before permitting them to remove sand.
DC Priyanka Mary told STOI that the NGT order and MoEF directions are very clear about removal of sand in CRZ areas and the district administration will follow the same in toto. "There is no scope for mining sand mechanically and sand deposited in sand bars has to be removed manually," she said. G Anuradha, additional DC, Shilpa Nag CT, assistant commissioner, Vishnuvardhan, additional SP, Gurumurthy Kulkarni, RTO and other officials were present.