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Traditional Sand Boat Owners decided to boycott LS polls

2:03 PM, Thursday, March 14th, 2019
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sandUdupi: The failure of the governments and Udupi district administration to solve sand shortage problem plaguing the district, the members of Traditional Sand Boat Owners Association, Maralu Horata Samiti and Building Construction Goods Transporting Lorry and Tempo Owners’ Association, Udupi have decided to mass boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing the media at Udupi press club on Wednesday, Raghavendra Shetty said, “Model Code of Conduct was declared before we got permission for sand mining. Now things look bleak. Our livelihood depends on sand extraction and transport business. On March 14, deputy commissioner has called for a meeting to discuss sand issues. If we do not get the appropriate decision in the meeting, we and our family members will abstain from voting. We are suffering since 10 months without sand business. The economic growth of Udupi is on a downward trend. Sand extraction is the core business and source of income for many in the district. If the authorities have doubts about GPS, let them install CCTV in sand extraction area.”

“The license holders cannot extract sand in Mangaluru, in spite of having licenses but the sand from Mangaluru is sold at a high price here. If the license holders do not get permission to extract sand, it will severely affect their life,” he added.

“What did the district-in-charge minister, MP or anyone else contribute for solving sand shortage issue and to get new licenses for 170 license holders? They did nothing to solve the severe problem. It is our duty to exercise our franchise and we are aware of it. But people representatives are not supportive to the people when problems arise. We will find our way,” he said.

“Let the government proceed on the Lokpal probe on Udupi DC. We have given a complaint. There is need to end this topic,” he stressed.

Speaking on the occasion Sathyaraju Birthi, correspondent of Maralu Horata Samithi said, “We have suffered a lot mentally. We will not allow our family members to vote anymore. Let’s see what will happen. The district administration is losing royalty from the sand business. This will affect the economy of Udupi.”

Maralu Horata Samithi convener Ansar Ahmed “most of the coolie workers are not showing interest to vote anybody. This attitude is because the people’s representatives are not addressing problems. The government has made people as victims in the name of law and order. In the sand stock, it was said that 10 loads of sand went missing while shifting. But no one has the answer.”

“We are looking forward for the decision by the seven member committee in the upcoming March 14 meeting, which will be chaired by the DC,” he added.

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