BENGALURU: A Lokayukta police inquiry has revealed that the Sand Regulatory Committees headed by the Deputy Commissioner in Haveri and Assistant Commissioner in Kodagu districts have utterly failed to prevent the rampant illegal sand mining and transportation in their respective districts. Their failure has been responsible for continued looting of natural resources and causing a huge loss to the state’s exchequer.
According to the inquiry report, copy of which is available with The New Indian Express, the officials have been mute spectators to sand being illegally extracted and transported from the Tungabhadra river in Haveri district and streams of Lakshman Theertha in Kodagu district. Even the local police officials have turned a blind eye towards it, the report said.Inquiries were conducted by the superintendents of police of Karnataka Lokayukta in their respective districts in compliance of the directions issued by the Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanatha Shetty. On receiving reports from the Assistant Registrars (Legal Opinion), Justice Shetty initiated suo motu proceedings in both the cases.
“The reports submitted by the Lokayukta SPs can be considered as the source material for the purpose of instituting suo motu proceedings. The sand being the property of the state, its illegal removal from Tungabhadra river and streams of Lakshmana Theertha at the villages referred in the complaint, not only results in violation of the rules and regulations, but also results in intrusion of the ecology and loss of wealth to the state.
Therefore, the matter is required to be viewed seriously and steps will have to be taken by the authorities concerned to stop the illegal sand mining immediately and the culprits are required to be prosecuted in accordance with law immediately. Submit interim report on action taken within three weeks,” Justice Shetty said in his order issued to the Deputy Commissioners of Haveri and Kodagu to conduct inquiry.
The Lokayukta also issued notice to SPs, senior geologists, environmental officer of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Haveri and Kodagu districts, and director of mines and geology.
The Lokayukta had ordered the probe after receiving anonymous complaints from villagers in Kodagu and Haveri districts. They alleged that rampant illegal sand mining and transportation was going on in these districts in connivance with officials.