Mangaluru, May 31, 2017: Reports indicate that sand extraction matters stormed the Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) meeting at Udupi on May 30, Tuesday. Pramod Madhwaraj, Minister of State for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports, who chaired the meeting, pulled up officials for making irresponsible statements on the availability of sand.
Even the slow construction of roads under the Varahi Irrigation Project had been blamed on non-availability of sand.
The meeting was informed that there was enough stock of sand with the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Ltd. (KRIDL). In fact, 100 truckloads of sand were taken from it on May 29 and it still had 80 loads of sand with it.
To a query, Minister Madhwaraj said the issue of separate sand policy for coastal districts was being studied by the government. There had been no decision on it so far because bureaucrats had said there could not be two policies for the same issue as the sand was extracted from rivers in different districts.
However, sand had mostly been extracted from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas of the river in Udupi district. Already, the district administration had cleared files of extraction in CRZ areas as per the directions of the National Green Tribunal. It was expected to be cleared at the State-level in a fortnight. Extraction from CRZ areas can begin only after July because of ban on fishing from June 1 to July 31, he said.He directed the PWD officers to make sand available to people on payment of cash instead of forcing them to bring Demand Drafts. People found it inconvenient to get DDs from banks. The cash collected from the public by the PWD could then be deposited with the Department of Mines and Geology through a DD, Ministr Madhwaraj said.
MLC Pratapchandra Shetty, expressed his dissatisfaction over the maintenance of some vented dams in Kundapur taluk as there was intrusion of salt water in some dams. He said engineers of Varahi Irrigation Project had deliberately misled him and Min Madhwaraj over the visit of the Chief Engineer to the Varahi Project. Because of the wrong information, the meeting scheduled on May 29 was cancelled, he said. Min Madhwaraj directed the officers to motivate people to take up individual works such as digging open wells and repairing cattle sheds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme.
Halady Srinivas Shetty, Sunil Kumar, MLAs, Kota Srinivas Poojary, MLC, Dinakar Babu, President of Zilla Panchayat, were present.