Reiterating that the government is opposed to illegal sand mining carried out with mechanical pumps, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday said there should not be a problem to restart sand extraction in the traditional way.
The Chief Minister said the government is implementing the basic survey required to be completed before permission is granted for sand extraction. He said the government has roped in a Chennai-based agency to undertake the basic survey.
Sawant said since the basic survey has been completed at the Chapora river, the day is not too far when the permissions are issued for sand extraction in the state.
The Chief Minister said he is of the firm opinion that sand from neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka should not enter the state when sand can be extracted in the state, giving business opportunities for the local people.
“We will be able to issue permissions for sand extraction in the state after the completion of the basic survey. The survey stands completed at the Chapora river and a mechanism will be set in place to clear the decks for the sand extraction in the river”, he said, adding that similar basic survey will be conducted in other rivers in the state.
“The Dona Paula-based NCMR agency has been roped in to conduct the survey. One stretch of the Chapora river has been completed, while the agency will carry out similar surveys in other rivers as well”, he added.
When the media drew his attention to the crack down launched on the sand mining in the state, the Chief Minister said it is necessary to understand that the matter is pending in the High Court and the police officers will be hauled up for any laxity against illegal sand mining.
Saying he is in favour of sand extraction undertaken in a traditional manner, the Chief Minister said the government will not support mechanical sand extraction as the activity may pose a threat to the river embankments in times of uncontrolled sand mining. “Sand extraction offers business and employment opportunities for the local people. Hence, I am in favour of the early resumption in sand extraction so that sand from the neighbouring states does not come to the state”, he added.
He said that those who have gone to the court against sand mining are to be blamed and not the government for stopping sand extraction in Goa.
He blamed the people for going to court to halt the sand business. "Some people are highlighting illegalities in the court about the sand business", he said.