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Mines and Geology Department told to auction all identified sand-extraction sites in State
Promise to address concern over restrictions on stone quarrying around Bangalore
BANGALORE: Construction material transporters, who were on strike since Saturday midnight, withdrew their agitation after the Government responded positively to majority of their demands on Tuesday.
Transport Minister R. Ashok who brokered peace, announced that the Government will soon announce a sand policy for the State, on the lines of the one in Tamil Nadu.
Apart from asking the Mines and Geology Department to auction all the identified sand extraction sites in the State, the Minister promised to address the transporters’ concern regarding restrictions on stone quarrying around Bangalore.
He directed the revenue authorities to verify the claim of quarry owners that 500 acres of land, where stone quarrying had been prevented by the Forest Department in 2006 in Kallagopalli village near Bidadi, was not forest land. A suitable decision to allow sand extraction beyond a radius of 2 km of the Tippagondanahalli reservoir would be taken after discussions with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board , he said.
Speaking to presspersons after the meeting with the transporters, Mr. Ashok said he would ask the deputy commissioners of districts where the Mines and Geology Department had identified sand extraction sites, to auction them at the earliest. If the sites were auctioned, the Government too would get income by way of royalty, he pointed out. Stressing the need for a comprehensive framework for sand extraction in the State, Mr. Ashok cited the example of Tamil Nadu where such a policy was in place. A comprehensive sand mining policy would be in place soon, the Minister said.
On Saturday, the Minister had agreed to stop the alleged harassment of sand transporters by officials of a host of departments and had asked the transporters to pay a royalty of Rs. 300 per load of sand.
At Tuesday’s meeting, it was agreed that the sand transporters will pay royalty of Rs. 7,500 a month royalty at the rate of Rs. 250 a day.
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