Goons of 'sand mining mafia' vandalize the only bridge of Pavoor-Uliya residents

Harsha Raj Gatty
February 3, 2019

Mangaluru, Oct 3: Miscreants vandalise the temporary bridge of the Pavoor-Uliya 'island village' in Mangaluru city, a week after the residents successfully draw the attention of the district authorities to the rampant and unauthorised sand extraction from the area. 

"Besides removing the planks from the temporary bridge, bending the support beams and metal joints of the structure, the miscreants have also vandalised at least seven two-wheelers including an auto rickshaws that belonged to the residents and parked on the other side of the temporary (non-motorable) bridge," Glen, Pavoor Uliya resident says. 

After years of repeated pleas to sand miners to stop illegal sand extraction, in the last week of January the villagers confronted the sand miners and forced them to vacate the boats and equipments. "We informed police, Geology and mining department, who came and seized at least seven boats, equipments and machinery. This seems to have frustrated the sand miners in their operation," a resident said.

According to another island resident Gilbert, over 50-years ago the distance between the village to the mainland was barely 50 feet; however due to the rising water and illegal sand mining in the area, the divide between the two regions has grown wider.

"Though there is a ban on sand mining in the region, at night we see several trucks and JCBs lined up on the other side of the river, lifting loads of sand. When we questioned the workers regarding the permit for sand-mining, the workers threatened us. We have reported the matter to the police and DC office several times, however just before the officials raid, the labourers suddenly windup their work and flee. It’s quite evident that someone within the department is tipping them about the official visits," a resident under condition of anonymity says. The pollution caused due to sand-mining has also driven away the fish in the nearby river beds, which was earlier one of the important occupations and source of income for the locals.

Located off the coast of Mangalore city, Pavoor Uliya, (Uliya means which means "leftover or remaining land) lies in the midst of Nethravathi river. To connect to the mainland (Mangalore city), the villagers have cross 600-metres of water. The tiny island that has 51 families living for the past three-four generation, has however no basic amenities such as school, medical facility, street lights, shops, or even motorable roads. Except for a Hindu family, rest of the 50 families are Catholics, and the village is never prone to any communal incident. Most of the residents of this village daily commute to the mainland (Mangalore City), where they are employed in commercial establishments.

Each year post monsoon season the island-village of about 250 people pool funds together to build a temporary (non-motorable) bridge. According to the residents it takes at least over a lakh to build the bridge, that they construct post -monsoon season to cross over the river. "During rain we use a motorised boat to cross the river since the bridge can be easily swept away by strong currents," Glen says.

While the case has been booked in the jurisdictional police station, Mangalore City Police Commissioner TR Suresh who visited the spot assured the residents that the policing in the area will be intensified and the perpetrators will be caught. "We are investigating the matter; the suspects will be arrested soon. We will also take some additional measures in the area for the protection of the people," he said.

District-in-charge minister UT Khader who visited the area on Saturday morning, also assured the residents of providing CCTV coverage at the entry point to the village.

In the backdrop of construction sector of the city complaining 'sand shortage', the illegal transporters and hoarders continue to extract sand from unmarked or ecologically sensitive areas and sell it for higher price. Just weeks earlier, Dakshina Kannada DC Sasikanth Senthil had 'debunked' the scarcity myth and said that the control room for 'Sand Crisis' had no call from the needy despite being operational for a month. He had also warned construction companies against excessive 'sand mining'.

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News Network
September 14,2020
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Kumaraswamy

Bengaluru, Sep 14: Former Karnataka Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday urged the state government to take immediate steps to close down all the dance bars in Bengaluru, saying that these bars have become dens of drug supply centres in the city.

Speaking to reporters in Bhadravati town in Shivamogga district, Kumaraswamy quipped that the incumbent government is not dependent on anybody's mercy, hence, the Chief Minister, B.S. Yediyurappa should take this bold step of announcing closure of dance bars.

"There has been ample evidence against dance bars in Bengaluru, where many peddlers and addicts come together for a jaunt. The state government must take steps to stop this by banning the dance bars," he said.

Answering to a question, Kumarswamy retorted that even when he was the Chief Minister, he was under someone's mercy, he had taken all steps but a step short of closing down these bars as his government by then had lost majority on the floor.

"Yediyurappa can do it even now, as I have completed all the formalities to issue ban orders," he said.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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Bengaluru, Sep 23: After the opposition demand for a judicial inquiry into procurements made during the COVID-19 pandemic was rejected, opposition Congress lawmakers led by Siddaramaiah walked out of the Assembly in protest on Wednesday.

Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar earlier asserted that there was no corruption in any of the procurements done during the pandemic.

Replying to a debate on alleged procurement scams pointed out by opposition parties in the Assembly, Sudhakar said that there was no deviation of funds or corruption. “So, where is the question of ordering a probe? The state government rejects all allegations made by the Opposition,” the Minister said.

He charged the opposition lawmakers with trying to derive political mileage which he said was demoralising officials and Corona Warriors.

According to him, ventilators procured by the Tamil Nadu government are transport ventilators used in ambulances. “Hence, it is not correct to compare our ventilators with those in Tamil Nadu. Ventilators of different specifications and quality are available for different prices; one should not get confused with different prices,” he maintained.

The Minister asserted that the market prices vary as per the demand, and the procurement is done on the basis of prevailing prices.

“There is no instance of corruption in the procurement of equipment for the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. Not even a single deviation has taken place and, therefore, there is no need for an investigation,” he asserted.

“When there was no domestic production, we procured three lakh PPE kits from China. Subsequently, we decided to purchase from local manufacturers, that too ICMR-approved kits. Similar procedures were followed by other states as well,” the Minister explained.

He said there was shortage of sanitisers in the state but after talks with distillery owners, the demand has since been met.

Earlier, several opposition leaders, including Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah accused the state government of indulging in rampant corruption during the pandemic.

“Be it the purchase of ventilators, beds, medicines, or PPE kits, every procurement was cleared only after a cut. Hence, it is necessary to order a judicial inquiry by a sitting High Court Judge,” he said, as other opposition members endorsed his views.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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Bengaluru, Sept 17: SSLC students writing the supplementary exams could travel free in KSRTC buses between their residence and examination centre from September 21 to 28.

According to a statement on Thursday, students have to produce their admission ticket to avail services in the city, suburban, ordinary and express buses across the state.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corportion (BMTC) too has provided similar facility.

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