Udupi, Dec 18, 2018: Udupi district administration is bearing the brunt of sand crisis, which is increasing with each passing day, as BJP is not only pointing fingers at it but is also blaming the administration for failure to handle the crisis.
In fact, the problem arised when a major chunk of sand bars, which existed in Kundapur was declared as eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) under the new CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) map announced by the MoEF on September 27.
The new CRZ map, prepared by the expert team appointed by Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF) on September 27, 2018 emphasised on the critical vulnerable area in CRZ area which pose threat to fish breeding, affects coral reefs and other marine bio-diversities.
The map forbids any sort of sand extraction activities in entire Kundapur taluk which also includes Byndoor. The majority of areas, which were covered in the sand blocks in the previous year, have now been exempted from mining owing to the new CRZ map.
District Senior Geologist Padmaja told media that that there were 28 sand bars identified in the district last year. Of which 16 were in Udupi and Brahmavar areas and the 12 were in Kundapur and Byndoor region. “As the entire Kundapur and Byndoor region is exempted under sand mining, it is turning out to be a major loss to the district,” she said.
Last year, 6,08,610 metric tonnes of sand was extracted and Rs 3.65 crore royalty was collected from the 28 sand bars in the district. In Kundapur and Byndoor zone itself 2,30,423 metric tonnes of sand was extracted and Rs 1.38 cr was collected as royalty.
Rajesh Kotian from Kundapur, who works as a construction labourer, said due to sand crisis most of the construction works had been stopped completely. “The labourers have not been able to get the job, simultaneously the poor people who are building the houses availing the government financial assistance have stopped the construction activities midway.””
He accused the politicians of failing to understand the gravity of the problem.
MLA Raghupathy said that he was pursuing the issue with the central government to consider the proposal to revise the new CRZ map, which was absolutely ‘unscientific.’
The process is on and talks are held with the chief secretary of MoEF and the ministry has assured to find a solution.
He said losing the sand bars in Kunadpur and Byndoor regions would lead to acute shortage of sand in the days to come.
Currently, approval has been given for sand mining in five sand bars, identified in CRZ limits in River Seetha. There were objections received by the committee to remove two sand bars in River Swarna.
Fourty five licence holders had applied for sand extraction activity through traditional method.
A total of nine sand bars were identified and approval was given for seven of them, of which five are in River Seetha.