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Ensure steady supply of sand: Rai

Permits for sand extraction set to expire in the next few days

Expiry of permits for sand extraction could create an artificial scarcity.— File Photo

District in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai on Saturday asked Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim to take steps to ensure a steady supply of sand so that construction activities were not hit in view of the impending expiry of permits for sand extraction over the next few days.

During a monthly review of development works on Saturday, Mr. Rai expressed concern over the expiry of 63 permits over the past few weeks. Four more will expire over the next few days.

“In that case there will be no permits (for sand mining). This will create artificial scarcity and we cannot allow this to happen,” he said.

The licences were not renewed following a direction from the Mines and Geology Department as mining is supposed to be streamlined as directed by the Supreme Court. Extensions could contravene the directions of the Apex Court.

Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim pointed out that currently there was no scarcity of sand. Those permits which have lapsed over the last few weeks could be renewed till September from when the new sand policy begins. A sand extraction operator said the Department of Mines and Geology was not keen to renew expired permits fearing contempt proceedings from the Supreme Court. Mr. Rai said, “We cannot make people suffer for want of action from the Department.”

Mr. Rai said he had been facing problems in getting sand for development works in his constituency.

An official from the Department of Mines and Geology said that they, with the help of National Institute of Technology, have identified 19 sand bars in the district from where sand can be extracted.

As per the recent decision of the Department, they will get clearance from the seven-member District Coastal Regulatory Zone for extracting sand from the identified bars.

MLA J.R. Lobo accused authorities of harassing sand miners by unnecessarily booking cases against them.

“Such mindless booking of cases will in another way create scarcity,” he said.

MLC Ivan D’Souza said it was necessary to use sand that had been stocked by the operators during the summer by paying advance royalty.

It was also decided to get a report in a week regarding the damage caused by rain.

Courtesy : The Hindu