Sand Row: I am adhering to Guidelines of NGT – DC Priyanka Mary Francis

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Sand Row: I am adhering to Guidelines of NGT – DC Priyanka Mary Francis

Udupi: “I am only adhering to the guidelines of the National Green Tribunal and is absolutely not under any sort of political pressure,” said Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis.

She was speaking to media persons at the DC office on Friday evening, the sand extraction issue is still before the National Green Tribunal and hence, measures to take up the sand mining activities should be started carefully. The lapses, which happened last year should not be repeated, she said.

The district administration has identified seven sand blocks in the CRZ area. Applications are invited for the purpose and the last date to submit the application for sand extraction is October 27.

Since we have received only five applications, the date for receiving applications will be extended. NITK, Suratkal, has taken up the Bathymetry survey at Papanashini River at Udyavar, Seethanadi and Swarna River.

The Bethamatic survey will be completed by October 29, she explained. She said that the government has ordered to give permission to only those who are engaged in traditional sand mining prior to 2011. Such sand miners can approach the district administration with valid documents, she said.

Meanwhile, Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhat accused Udupi deputy commissioner of not being keen on permitting sand mining activities in the district.

The poor labourers, construction workers and all others associated with the construction business are suffering due to the non-availability of sand. But the deputy commissioner without keeping the interests of the poor labourers in mind is insisting on permitting manual sand extractors engaged in sand mining prior to 2011, he said.

If the decision is implemented, only 98 contractors will be involved in sand extraction. Out of the 98 contractors, 78 are engaged in the business. This would only add to the existing problem.

He said that the protesters would not allow the DC to issue permits to 78 sand miners as there are 171 license holders. They should be allowed to mine sand in the non-CRZ areas. Only the ecologically sensitive areas can be exempted from sand extraction, he added.

MLA Bhat further said that he would appeal to the Centre to revise the newly designed CRZ map, which projects the entire Kundapur and Byndoor region as an eco-sensitive zone. He threatened to continue the indefinite strike if the DC does not permit sand mining activities in CRZ and non-CRZ areas.

The MLA responding to DC’s decision on denying permits to the new license holders sought to know about the parameters followed last year when permits for sand extraction were issued to 171 new license holders.

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