Volvoi, Savoi Verem sand extractors demand permits to undertake extractions

Ponda: Upset with stringent action by government against illegal sand extraction, traditional sand extractors from Volvoi and Savoi Verem area of Ponda taluka have demanded that they be given proper permission to undertake sand extraction activity.

They said that sand extraction is their only source of income and after strict action by the government, they are feeling deprived as they cannot undertake the activity.

“If the situation continues, sand extractors will have to end their lives as after ban on sand mining, their plight is turning from bad to worse,” stated traditional sand extractors at a press briefing in Volvoi.

Around 40 sand extractors along with acting sarpanch of Volvoi were present for the press briefing held on Thursday.

According to Vinayak Vengurlekar, environment
clearance (EC) required for sand mining in Volvoi is valid until September 2020. “But the government is not granting permission for sand extraction and, hence, traditional sand extractors are either forced to undertake sand extraction illegally or completely give up.”

He said that the sand extractors from Volvoi, Savoi Verem area have been carrying out the activity since Portuguese time and it has been their only source of income. “But due to interference of some NGOs, sand extraction activity has been stopped completely for the last one year. Now the livelihood of the sand extractors is at stake and if the situation continues to remain the same, we will be left with no other option but to end our lives like the farmers from Maharashtra,” Vengurlekar expressed.

Considering it, sand extractors are demanding that the state government should grant permission for sand extraction as early as possible.

Since past one year, traditional sand extractors from Ponda have been demanding permission from government to extract sand from river.

They alleged that in the name of desilting of river, mining companies were being given contract to dredge sand from river without any rules and thousands of cubic metres of sand is being dredged illegally, while the government was acting strictly against traditional sand extractors.

Volvoi acting sarpanch Nilkant Naik, lending support to sand extractors, urged the government to look into the matter and grant permission for undertaking sand extraction.

It may be recalled that after court order, the mines department has started going strict on illegal sand mining in the state and illegally extracted sand is being dumped back into rivers. [NT]