Sand Mining Swallowing Revenue Land, Trees

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The construction boom in Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka, southern state of India has sent prices of sand skyrocketing, and in turn the rivers’ bed in and around the city is rapidly destroying.

One such example is Kanva river which is situated in Channapatna taluk and at 69 kms away from Bangalore. Kanva river bed and large tracts of revenue land is rapidly getting cleaned up, besides innumerable trees are facing the axe. Strict implementation of ban on sand mining in Kolar district invariably creates sand scarcity in Bangalore resulting in miners descending on Kanva basin.

The sand rate in Bangalore has shot up from INR 5,000-7,000 to INR 10,000-Rs14, 000 per truck load. More than five hundred acres of revenue land on Kanva banks has been cleaned up. Thousands of coconut trees have been felled. Farmers in Kudlur, Malurpatna, Santemogalli, Hunasanhalli, Banagahalli, Kondapur, Madapur, Ambadahalli, Karalahalli and other villages on Kanva bank in the taluk have removed coconut, mulberry and mango trees from their
fields to stock sand.

Sand buyers obtain six-seven guntas of land from farmers on lease for INR 40,000 to INR 50,000 and remove about 4-5 feet of mud to take 50-60 truckloads of sand. Each lorry load fetches INR 2000 to 2200 to the lessee or INR 500-600 for tractor load. Despite prohibitory orders, sand mining has been going on since five years as concerned authorities have resorted to a deep slumber. Meanwhile, farmers who bought tractors for agricultural purpose use them more for sand transportation.  And hence no tractor is available for ploughing.

The gram panchayats have been promoting sand mining by collecting cess from transporters. Once Kanva river was a lifeline for the people of Channapatna taluk, and was used it for irrigational purpose. But, now No water has flown into Kanva for the last five years. Kanva river has been dug up to fifty feet and open wells have gone dry. Locals are suffering from pollution related problems such as asthma, allergy, and other water, and skin related problems which is a direct result of sand mining. The land which was used for sand mining is becoming futile now which was once used for cultivation. Dust arising from sand transportation affects badly on the health of the people in the surrounding area. If it continues for some more years, the taluk would become completely dry, and people have to face severe shortage of drinking water, environmentalists warned.

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