Sand activist says he did not demand complete ban on mining
Panaji: The whistle-blower of illegal sand extraction activity in Goa on Friday said he never meant to stop entire sand mining in the state but was actually protesting
against illegalities in his own village at Keri, 50 Kms North of Panaji.
"When I filed petition in the court, I meant to stop only the illegal sand extraction in Keri village. Now they are blaming me for campaign against entire sand extraction
activity in the state," said Narayan Sopte Kerkar, a retired cop, whose petition has forced the district administration to crack down on the industry.
Since May 17, sand extraction in the state has come to a standstill affecting the construction industry.
Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has written to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to grant special status to Goa in Coastal Regulation Zone, 2011 Act to allow sand mining in the river bed.
Kerkar said he had filed a petition before the court after around 60 canoes were mercilessly mining the Terekhol river sea bed adjacent to Keri village in Pernem taluka.
"Entire village is facing the brunt of it. It was somewhere 16 years ago that the sluice gates had ruptured allowing saline water to rush in the village," he said.
"Almost half of the village is inundated with saline water," Kerkar claimed.
He said sand extraction activity has also spilled over to the Keri seashore, which was a major tourism spot.
"The extractors began taking away sand from Keri seashore, which resulted in destruction of sand bars, sand dunes and even the protection wall, constructed by government at the cost of Rs eight crore to avoid sand erosion, crumbled," Kerkar said.
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