Udupi, Nov 03, 2018: The National Environment and Wildlife Lovers Federation has urged the district administration not to permit removal of sand bars in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas in Udupi district.
In a press release issued here on Friday, H. Shashidhar Shetty, general secretary of the federation, said that sand bar removal could be permitted only if sand bars poses danger to navigation of fishing boats. But there were no genuine complaints of sand bars in the rivers flowing in the district obstructing navigation and fishing.
In the list of 47 complaints submitted to the district administration, sand extractors had obtained fake/false letters from a few villagers to get permits for sand bar removal. The boat registration certificates enclosed with the complaints revealed that all these were fibre-glass boats with base operations at the sea and not used in rivers.
It was shocking that many sand removal permit holders of previous years themselves had submitted complaints that sand bars were obstructing their fishing boats.
Sand removal from identified sand bars were to be undertaken by traditional coastal communities using buckets/baskets manually and the sand to be collected only through non-machined dinghies or small boats (“nadadoni”). A perusal of the list of sand bar removal aspirants had revealed that none of them were from traditional coastal communities and they had never removed the sand manually through “nadadonis.” Hence, they were not qualified to get sand removal permits.
The hype of sand scarcity created in the district was artificial and stage-managed by vested interests. The administration should publish the total usage of sand for private construction purpose in the district. This could be done by getting the data of the total cement sold in the district through GST route and if proportionate use of sand to cement was calculated, it would give the total quantity of sand consumed in the construction sector.
If this data was matched with the total sand extracted in CRZ and non-CRZ areas in the district during the relevant period, it would give a clear picture on the issue. This raised the question where the sand removed in the district was going.
The National Green Tribunal had passed strictures on the administration while quashing sand removal permits issued earlier. Hence, the administration should stop the process of renewal/fresh issue of sand permits and save the already ravaged rivers of the district, the release said.