Illegal sand extraction thrives in CRZ

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Stringent norms flagrantly violated in Dakshina Kannada

Sunday’s attack on Udupi Deputy Commissioner and Kundapura Assistant Commissioner has brought to the fore thriving illegal sand extraction from the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ).

Sand extraction is officially banned in Udupi district following directions from the National Green Tribunal (NGT). But, it is not banned in Dakshina Kannada. Permits for extracting sand in CRZ of Dakshina Kannada will expire on April 10. NGT’s southern Bench in Chennai had stayed issue of permits for sand extraction in Udupi district on May 16 last on petitions by Udaya Suvarna and others. On February 27 this year, the tribunal ordered its cancellation.

The tribunal noted the administration had issued sand extraction permits in CRZ in the guise of providing navigation path to fishing boats. It was to circumvent stringent CRZ norms which prohibit any kind of mining, including sand, in CRZ, NGT had said.

It had also found fault with the identification of sand bars stating that only those above the water level should have been selected. The tribunal said the process of identifying sand bars by officials and its ratification by a retired professor of National Institute of Technology, Surathkal, was flawed.

The National Environment Care Federation, Mangaluru, petitioned Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner K.G. Jagadeesha to implement the NGT judgment in the district too.

Federation general secretary Shashidhar Shetty said the process of identification and concurrence by the retired professor were followed here too. Hence, all permits should be cancelled.

However, Mr. Jagadeesha said he had no such direction. Moreover, banning sand extraction would cause acute sand scarcity in coastal Karnataka, he said.

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