Relaxing sand extraction norms will spur illegal mining
The National Environment Care Federation, Karnataka, has said demand from state legislators to relax sand extraction norms would facilitate illegal sand extraction from rivers in the Coastal Regulation Zone areas in the twin districts of Dakshina Kannada (DK) and Udupi.
In a release here, NECF general secretary H Shashidhar Shetty called for an open debate on the issue as MLAs, including state Urban Development and Housing Minister U T Khader, had supported the move.
“When thousands of tonnes of sand are lying in the stockyards of the public works department in DK and Udupi districts, there is no need to allow sand extraction from rivers in the CRZ area,” Shetty said.
He alleged that lakhs of tonnes of sand from the CRZ area in both districts, worth over Rs 14,500 crore, had been looted in the past 15 years with scant regard to environment laws.
Over 90 per cent of such sand was illegally transported to Kerala, Bengaluru, Maharashtra and other places,which had been confirmed by a Lokayukta probe into the issue, Shetty said.
Under the guise of transporting imported sand to Kerala, attempts were being made to transport illegally extracted CRZ sand to Kerala giving it legal cover, he said, and challenged the minister and MLAs to come for an open debate on the issue.