Udupi: Eighteen Gram Panchayat members of Varamballi held a demonstration against alleged sand mining, here, on Wednesday.
While speaking to News Karnataka, Birthi Rajesh Shetty said that the Gram Panchayath holds supreme power in the limits with regards to licensing and permissions. As per the rules, District Mines and Geology Department can issue permission for sand mining only after getting NOC from the Panchayath.
He alleged that the Mining Union claims that for sand mining, permission given by the Geology Department is sufficient and panchayath permission is dispensable. Sand mining union was formed by sand mafia’, to protect their own interests. Sand is a Natural resource, at present, 200 to 300 loads of sand (20 tons per lorry) exported to Bangalore, Thirthahalli and Shimoga every day.
“A local poor person getting sand for small construction is impossible task here, as mining contractors get lump sum after exporting it. The heavy trucks continuously ply from 5am to 10pm has put the lives of children and other at risk”, he said.
He also added that leaders wash their hands off and leave the burden on the public “The Public blame us (GP members) that everything is happening with our knowledge. Spending Lakhs from government budget, river sides are blocked with rocks, if the mining continuous, the center of the river will be deeper, which will lead to slide the constructed rocks. Fisherman are getting confused with the depth of the river and as a result many lives have been lost”, he said.
“We demand our rights, get NOC from the panchayath and then give permission for mining; priority should be given locals requirements. Machine mining should be stopped and give importance to local mining systems”, he urged.
Speaking about the responsibility of the public he said, “I want justice. As a GP member, we can protest and create awareness; however, the rest is on the public to stand united against it”.
Birthi also alleged that workers from UP and Assam are given steroids so as to enable them to work hard. “It is a crime link”, he added.
District Mines and Geology Department newly transferred officer Kodandarammayya, who has said that he will verify the situation and do the needful.
A memorandum has been submitted to the DC with this regard.