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February 12, 2020

State to bring out new sand policy to curb illegal supply and ensure easy availability

Bengaluru: The State Government has proposed to bring out a new sand extraction policy for meeting the demand-supply gap. The new sand policy will have an online booking system to supply sand and thus will be one of the several measures with which the Government hopes to regulate and streamline sand availability. These measures were discussed at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa in Bengaluru yesterday.  

The meeting was held to discuss the new sand policy as shortage of sand has hit development works, including Government projects and construction of houses. A draft policy, taken up at a Cabinet sub-committee meeting, was discussed, and the Chief Minister asked officials to formulate a new sand policy based on the sub-committee’s recommendations.

According to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office, the new policy will allow for sand to be booked online. “A Sand Vehicle Tracking System will monitor the movement of vehicles that transport sand,” the statement said. 

Karnataka needs about 45 million metric tonnes of sand, of which 30 million metric tonnes comes from manufactured sand (M-sand) units. Another 4.5 million tonnes come from rivers and from licenced mining on patta lands. Then, some 2 million tonnes are imported from other States. This leaves the State with a shortfall of 8.5 million tonnes.

“Despite various measures, sand is not being made available on time and this is affecting development works. It is in this backdrop that a policy has been drafted as recommended by a Cabinet sub-committee,” the CMO statement said. 

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The new policy is expected to enable crackdown on illegal sand extraction and ensure availability of sand at lower prices for those in need. The construction industry has been hit following the ban on extraction of sand from rivers. The new policy is also expected to give boost to M-sand units for safeguarding environment. It is also expected to provide subsidy on interest on loans taken to set up M-sand units.

At the meeting, officials also discussed appointing Karnataka State Minerals Corporation Ltd., as the sole agency for extraction of river sand. The agency will appoint contractors for extraction of the sand, which will be stored in Government stockyards. From there, sand will be distributed for sale by the agency. 

Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, Forest, Ecology & Environment Additional Chief Secretary Sandeep Dave, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary L.K. Atheeq among others were present. 

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