From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Dec 3: The long-awaited comprehensive sand policy for Karnataka will be notified by the State Government in a week.
The sand policy aimed at enforcing a crackdown on all illegal extraction and sale of sand across the State will be notified finally, chief minister Siddaramaiah informed the State Legislative Assembly session in Belgaum on Tuesday.
In a reply to a question from JD(S) member Narayana Gowda, the Chief Minister said the State Cabinet took a decision on November 21 to formulate rules to the new sand policy following complaints of illegal sand lifting and sale of sand.
All the new rules had been framed and a notification would be issued on December 9.
As per new rules, deputy commissioners and tahsildhars would be given more powers to streamline the sale of sand and also to check unauthorised lifting and sale of sand. he said.
The State Government was aware of the shortage of sand, which had seriously affected construction activities in different parts of the State, the chief minister said.
Officials would be directed to check illegal transport of sand extracted from Karnataka and sent to neighbouring states like Kerala and Goa.
The chief minister said the state government had identified as many as 1,864 sand blocks in the State.
Sand was much in demand in Bangalore City, Bangalore Rural, Mysore, Tumkur, Dakshina Kannada, Belgaum and other districts.
The current availability of sand was around 9 million tonnes as against the demand of 23 million tonnes per annum, he said.
In 2012-13, permission had been given to extract sand in 7207 hectares.
As per the new policy, the Public Works Department would be given powers to extract sand from river beds, to stock and sell through tender.
''Suggestions given by members have been incorporated in the new policy,” he said.
BJP member and former minister Govind Karjol urged the government not to involve PWD in sand business as it has to do construction of roads and bridges.
Former Chief Minister and KJP floor Leader B S Yedyurappa pointed out that sand from Karnataka was being transported to Goa and wanted the government to check the menace in order to ensure that people of the State were not exploited by unscrupulous elements.
BJP Floor Leader and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar urged the government to take steps to prevent middlemen from misusing the situation to their advantage and causing loss to the State exchequer and hardships to the people.