The High Court of Karnataka has asked the State government whether it is willing to conduct a study through an expert agency to ascertain damages that can be caused to the environment and affects to traditional occupations of villagers in granting permission for removal of sand from riverbanks.
It also asked the government whether it was prepared to not to grant licences for removal of sand from rivers and riverbanks till the completion of such a study.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order while hearing a PIL petition filed by Franky D’Souza and nine others from Kenjar village near Bajpe of Mangaluru taluk in Dakshina Kannada district. The petitioners have asked about temporary licences being issued for removal of sand in the jurisdiction of Malavoor Gram Panchayat.
Though the government claimed that provisions of the Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession (KMMC) Rules, 1994, allows removal of sand in Coastal Regulation Zone as per government notification issued in 2011, the HC pointed out that question is whether the State is under obligation to make a study on impact of sand removal on the environment and the traditional occupations of villages.
Meanwhile, the Bench made it clear that temporary licences for sand mining on the banks of Phalguni river at Kenjar, Thokur and Malavoor villages of Mangaluru taluk should not be granted, contrary to the provisions of KMMC Rules.
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