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Sand extraction in CRZ areas yet to resume

10:31 AM, Thursday, August 18th, 2016
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SandMangaluru: Even as permit holders are yet to commence sand extraction from rivers in the Coastal Regulatory Zone in Dakshina Kannada district, after the ban ended on Monday, the Chennai Bench of the National Green Tribunal extended the stay on sand extraction in CRZ areas of Udupi district till September 13.

As the two-month ban was in force, the Dakshina Kannada Sand Monitoring Committee, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, came out with a set of guidelines on sand extraction in CRZ areas that included deployment of only conventional boats to the complete exclusion of large steel boats. The then Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim, who piloted the guidelines to protect the fragile CRZ ecology from rampant sand extraction, had signed the guidelines just before he was moved out on a new assignment.

Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal had, on May 17, ordered a stay on sand extraction in Udupi district on a petition filed by Uday Suvarna and others from Biakady and Kukkude villages near Brahmavar. When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, sand contractors pleaded for lifting the stay order; but the Bench adjourned the matter to September 13, continuing the stay, said Ranjan Shetty, advocate for the applicants. The stay, however, is restricted to Udupi district only, he said.

Dakshina Kannada Additional Deputy Commissioner Kumar said that sand extraction in the district has not commenced, as the administration has asked the permit holders to furnish a letter for having complied with all the conditions imposed in the permit. Some of the conditions include non-deployment of machinery or equipment for extraction and loading, using small boats, installation of GPS device on sand transporting trucks, among others.

The new guidelines, Mr. Kumar said, would be implemented in a phased manner once the permit holders show that they have complied with the permit conditions. Asked whether the National Green Tribunal order for Udupi district cannot be enforced in Dakshina Kannada also, Mr. Kumar said that technically it was not possible. However, extraction can resume only after the administration allows it, he added.

President of Joint Action Committee, Sand, Mayoor Ullal said that the permit holders are yet to resume extraction as everything was not clear. The administration was to hold a meeting, which is yet to happen, he said.

Meanwhile, the National Environment Care Federation, which had presented voluminous evidence on rampant illegal sand extraction to the district administration seeking a complete ban in CRZ areas, is moving the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal at Delhi on August 27. Shashidhar Shetty of the federation told that the Dakshina Kannada administration could have enforced the Chennai Bench order since the ground realities are similar.

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