Mangaluru, Sep 28 (PTI) The National Environment Care Federation, Karnataka, has said demand from state legislators to relax sand extraction norms would facilitate illegal sand extraction from rivers in the Coastal Regulation Zone areas in the twin districts of Dakshina Kannada (DK) and Udupi. Also Read - Strange Request! People Under Home Quarantine in Karnataka Told to Send a Selfie to Govt Every Hour

In a release here, NECF general secretary H Shashidhar Shetty called for an open debate on the issue as MLAs, including state Urban Development and Housing Minister U T Khader, had supported the move. Also Read - Karnataka Cop Paints Coronavirus Danger Sketch on Road to Spread Awareness, Pictures go Viral

“When thousands of tonnes of sand are lying in the stockyards of the public works department in DK and Udupi districts, there is no need to allow sand extraction from rivers in the CRZ area,” Shetty said. Also Read - 'Sneeze And Spread The Virus': Infosys Employee Sacked, Arrested For Facebook Post

While PWDs sand is accounted for,there was no monitoring mechanism for CRZ sand, he said, adding that the minister and MLAs in the region are bound by regulations under the Constitution not to allow this.

He alleged that lakhs of tonnes of sand from the CRZ area in both districts, worth over Rs 14,500 crore, had been looted in the past 15 years with scant regard to environment laws.

Over 90 per cent of such sand was illegally transported to Kerala, Bengaluru, Maharashtra and other places,which had been confirmed by a Lokayukta probe into the issue, Shetty said.

The National Green Tribunal had also opposed the administrations attempts to circumvent strong CRZ norms by allowing sand extraction under the guise of facilitating fishing boat movement, he said.

“The elected representatives are still bringing pressure from the Chief Ministers office on district administrations to allow illegal sand extraction, putting deputy commissioners in a delicate position,” Shetty said.

He alleged that Khader, who is also DK district-in-charge Minister, was keen on allowing transportation of imported sand lying at the NMPT, to Kerala.

Under the guise of transporting imported sand to Kerala, attempts were being made to transport illegally extracted CRZ sand to Kerala giving it legal cover, he said, and challenged the minister and MLAs to come for an open debate on the issue.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.