|January 6, 2014 at 10:09 am #4985|
At a time when sand extraction and its possible adverse effect on the environment is being debated, Minister for Cooperation Deepak Dhavlikar has advocated the benefits of sand extraction by claiming that it would help avert flooding of villages.
“I don’t think there is any harm to the environment, but on the contrary the dredging activity would definitely avert flooding as it would de-silt the river,” said Dhavlikar, who represents Priol constituency.
Dhavilkar informed that there are numerous families in Priol who are dependent on sand extraction business and he stated that the State government has “given oral instruction to carry out sand extraction at the moment.”
Villages such as Volvoi, Savoi-Verem, Betki and Khandola in Priol constituency, located on the banks of Mandovi River, and also Banastarim along the Cumbhajua canal, are known places where sand extracted from the river is dumped and later transported.
“There are certain restrictions laid while temporarily allowing sand extraction. Many people from Priol constituency, especially Volvoi village, are dependent on sand extraction business,” informed Dhavlikar.
A few months ago, sand rates had skyrocketed due to a complete ban on sand extraction but the prices have recently come down owing to partial resumption in the sand extraction activity.
“Like in Priol, there is partial resumption of sand extraction in other areas too. Apart from the issue of livelihood of the people dependent on sand extraction business, the stoppage of sand extraction activity had halted several civil works and developmental projects of various government departments” claimed Dhavlikar.
Some of other panchayats in Ponda taluka are also facing the heat of sand shortage and a rise in prices.
Developmental works had been pending due to unavailability of sand, forcing local authorities to even hold back some works as contactors are reluctant to take up the projects.
“We recently had to face problem while undertaking crematorium work and even now, there are some civil works yet to be completed,” said Kavlem Sarpanch Rajesh Kavlekar.
“The contractor claims it has become unaffordable as the sand prices have touched an all-time high due to the ban. Even the common man cannot afford to build the house owing to a steep rise in material such as sand, laterite stone and so on. People in our area have obtained NOCs to construct houses, but have not started construction work because of the sand issue,” claimed Kavlekar.
Betki-Khandola Deputy Sarpanch Arvind Gaonkar informed that there are several locals in the village who are dependent on the sand extraction business.
“As such, there is a demand to regularise the sand extraction activity. The government must regularise sand extraction activity in the interest of the locals who are totally dependent on it. While regularising this business, the State government must also make provisions so that panchayats earn revenue from sand extraction business,” said Gaonkar.
Source/Reference: Herald, “Dhavlikar favours sand extraction, says it benefits locals, villages“