MANGALURU: The sand imported from Malaysia in order to tide over the crisis in the state and that was stuck in the Mangaluru Port for almost 10 months due to bureaucratic hurdles will finally find its way to the customers. The state cabinet meet held recently decided to issue permits to sell the sand not just within the state but also to the neighbouring Kerala.
District Minister U T Khader told reporters here on Thursday that the decision to make the imported sand available to Kerala was actually in Karnataka’s interest. “It was the sand mining ban in Kerala (CRZ area) which was the root cause of the crisis in Dakshina Kannada. Traders took it to Kerala as it fetched them good profit. Now, if we make availability of sand easy in Kerala, then the same will solve our problem,” he said.
Asked if curbing illegal transportation of sand to Kerala was a better solution, he said the government had tried to stop it. The minister maintained that the sale of imported sand will not affect sand prices in Karnataka. About concerns on sand transportation to Kerala wreaking havoc on Mangaluru roads and whether Kerala cannot import sand from Malaysia to its ports, the minister said: “Kerala is also in India,” and it is not the question of helping it and the traders from that state can come and buy it.
However, he said that the imported sand will be made available to Kerala only for six months. Its continuation will depend on the review of the situation after that. Further, he stated that the auctioning of sand dunes in CRZ (Coastal Regulatory Zone) area will start by October 15 as per the guidelines of MoEF. “It is left to the officials to make the sand available at a reasonable price to people. Any rules should lead to the reduction of prices and not go upwards.”
However, asked about the current price of sand in Dakshina Kannada, Khader who is minister for housing and urban development, said he was not a sand merchant to know it.With regard to non-CRZ area, he said it has been decided to relax the guidelines for auctioning. “Bidders from anywhere from the district can take take part in auctioning. If nobody comes forward, then it will be open for bidders in the state,” he said.
‘Open Shiradi Ghat to all passenger vehicles’
Khader instructed Dakshina Kannada DC Sasikanth Senthil to take measures to open Shiradi Ghat to all passenger vehicles in two days’ time and Sampanje Ghat in 15 days. He held a meeting with DC and PWD officials. He asked the DC to speak to his Hassan counterpart in this regard.