Mangaluru, May 8, 2016: Ending the three-month impasse on sand extraction in the coastal areas of Dakshina Kannada, the district-level sand monitoring committee has permitted scaled down extraction of sand from three rivers in the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ).
About 7.81 lakh tonnes of sand could be extracted.
Thought the order was issued on April 16, it was not made public, at least through the media, for reasons best known to the administration. As many as 242 individuals have been allotted 0.5 acres each in 19 identified sand bars in Nandini, Gurupura (Phalguni) and the Nethravati—in the CRZ area.
The department of applied mechanics, National Institute of Technology, Surathkal, which studies the availability of sand vis-à-vis permissible extraction, had recommended to the district committee to reduce the extraction by 30 per cent from 19 identified sand bars spread over 297 acres, following deficient monsoon.
The district committee had sought clearance for 297 acres from the State-Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority-Karnataka, while recommending 40 per cent reduction in the output in January this year.
The authority, however, scaled down the area to 178 acres while issuing environment clearance for each sand bar on April 11, valid for a year. After issuing permits to 242 applicants, 57 acres of sand bar are still available to be allotted by the district committee. It is said that the committee is considering issuing permits to 117 more people following ‘popular’ demand.
In all, permits have been issued for 19 sand bars, one in the Nandini in Sasihithlu-Pavanje villages, 12 in the Gurupura (Phalguni) and six in the Nethravati. Sand extraction is going on in full swing with labourers working throughout the day removing sand from the river bed and loading it boats before bringing the same to the river banks for onward transportation.
While scaling down the extraction, the committee also laid fresh conditions for sand extraction and transportation. They include issuing only 25 permits in a month to a permit-holder to transport sand out of which 15 may be transported inter-district; only two boats to be used by one permit-holder; providing basic amenities to labourers; extraction only through manual labour; extraction between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.; installation of GPS for sand transporting vehicles and prohibition on extraction 250 metres upstream and 500 metres downstream of the river near bridges.