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Updated December 16th, 2023 at 19:59 IST

Sand mafia in Karnataka constructs temporary road on Krishna river

The sand mafia has built a temporary road in the center of Krishna river to transport sand. They illegally mined sand in the river using bulldozers.

Reported by: Manisha Roy
sand mafia
The sand mafia illegally mined sand in Krishna river using bulldozers | Image:Republic
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Bengaluru: The sand mafia in Karnataka has resorted to a new way of exploiting sand in the parts of the state. The miscreants have gone ahead and paved a 5 to 6 km-long temporary road right on Krishna river, mining tonnes of sand as well.

The mafia has built a temporary road in the center of the river to transport sand. They illegally mined sand in the river using bulldozers. This reflects how illegal sand mining is rampant in the state without much restrictions. Little actions have been taken against the sand mafia by the authorities.

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As far as lakes are concerned, Republic Kannada has exposed the pathetic condition of three lakes, with two being in Bengaluru and one in Yadgir district. When it comes to Karpur lake in Anekal, there has been action taken with the tahsildar, district commissioner as well as the panchayat development officer visiting there and immediately entire mining was stopped at the lake.

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The rampant sand mining in Krishna river clearly shows the gross violation of the rules which have been laid out by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) because for a lake the buffer zone is 75 meters away from the water body. But for a river,  the rule clearly mentions that within 500 m of the waterbody there should be absolutely no sort of construction done, even if any construction is to be done, no commercial construction should be done. But here the sand mafia have constructed a temporary road on Krishna river.

Republic tried to reach out to Mines and geology minister SS Mallikarjun and his office repeatedly but there was no response from them.

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Despite a demand for a separate sand policy for coastal Karnataka to curb the mafia, nothing has been done so far. The demand has been one of the long pending promises by governments in Karnataka. The Congress mentioned this in their manifesto too but the same policy is yet to see the light of the day. One tonne of sand is being exported for a mere Rs 2,000.

Ban on purchase of handful of sand

For the people of the coastal districts of Karnataka, who have been promised whenever elections come, that a sand policy will be formed have only remained promises, for people here buying sand is like buying gold. There is also a ban on the purchase of a handful of sand, let alone a separate sand policy for the coast. In the name of the same ban, sand is stolen and transported to Goa, Kerala, Dharwad and Bengaluru. Of this, crores of rupees have been spent. Business is going on. 

The rate of sand has also doubled. The poor are struggling to build houses. In Uttara Kannada district, the government rate is Rs 1,026 per tonne. In black market it is between Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000. Republic tried to reach out to Mines and geology minister SS Mallikarjun and his office repeatedly but there was no response from them in the same. 

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In Uttara Kannada district, 12.44 lakh tonnes of sand dunes have been identified this year. Everything is within the CRZ limits. Around 70,000 tonnes of sand dunes were found in the area far away from the CRZ. However, due to the forest, the sand was not allowed to be removed. Thus, sand is not legally available in any part of the region. The sand which is not supposed to be mined legally is being illegally mined during night. From here, sand is transported to Goa and Dharwad via highways.

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Published December 16th, 2023 at 19:59 IST

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