KARWAR: Illegal sand mining is going on unabated in Kali river basin in Haliyal and Joida taluks in Uttara Kannada district. The three days of heavy rainfall in the district due to Cyclone ‘Nisarga’ has led to increase in soil erosion depositing huge quantity of sand in several streams and rivers including Kali River in Haliyal and Joida taluks. This has resulted in illegal sand mining.
Dozens of vehicles loaded with sand are seen transporting it to the neighbouring districts right under the nose of the government officials. “Despite complaining frequently to the officials the sand miners are transporting it in broad daylight without fear,” said Yograj Shivaji Marathe, a local activist. “Last night, I was counting the sand-laden vehicles. Nine trucks transported sand during night, and it is 6 am (Saturday), but no action has been taken so far,” he alleged. He said that he had spoken to the Assistant Commissioner, Karwar, urging her to check the CCTV footage installed all along the routes.
At some places the illegally extracted sand is stored in temporary stockyards. Interestingly this mining activity came to light a couple of days after the district administration issued an order banning sand mining temporarily so that the acquatic lifelike fish can breed well. When contacted, Priyanga, Assistant Commissioner, Karwar, said that she received complaints regarding illegal sand mining and the task force committees have been constituted to address the issue in four taluks -- Karwar, Joida, Dandeli and Haliyal.
“Our task forces were not functioning all these days due to Covid-19. Our CCTV has some technical issues. The Haliyal tahsildar agreed to get the CCTV rectified. We have not issued permission and those indulging in sand mining may have obtained Mineral Transit Permit from the Department of Mines and Geology from Belagavi. But we are checking those permits,” she said. Officials in the Department of Mines and Geology in Belagavi said they have not issued any such permits. Officials on conditions of anonymity said that in the wake of the 2019 floods a government order was issued to 17 people to extract sand between October 2019 and June 2020 to extract deposited sand from private land due to erosion. Of them, nine had violated the order and mined sand outside the district. But it was never meant to stretch beyond the boundaries of the districts, they said.