Friday, September 3, 2010

GPS to check Illegal Sand Mining

Sand being the most used material in construction activities is becoming scarcer day by day. River sand mining is a big business in coastal areas of India. This article discusses the problem of illegal sand mining in Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka State, India and the method adopted to tackle such activities through the use of GPS.

Due to environmental hazards created by uncontrolled sand mining in the neighboring Kerala State, the high court of Kerala had banned sand mining in the state. This came as a severe blow to construction activities in the state. Thereafter many alternatives were chalked out.
They were importing sand from Tamilnadu, another neighboring state and Gujarat a far-away state. The state government also decided to import sand from other countries! The business standard article highlights this issue. (http://is.gd/eSFC2)

The above course of activities resulted in another matter of high concern. The scarcity of sand led to the development of an illegal sand mining racket in the Dakshina Kannada district. This district on the west coast of India, has several river beds. This led to the flourishing of sand mining racket. This took toll on the roads of the district which were already damaged by overloaded iron-ore laden trucks. Sand mining also led to escalation of sand prices.

As the matter grew, the district administration came up with a unique solution. It was with Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj deciding to go ahead with the move of installing GPS instruments in sand transport trucks. It is said that each installation would cost a little over $250. This move intends to keep tab on movement of trucks. It is a common phenomenon now with trucks having permits to transport sand inside state are being used for inter-state transport, as it involves more returns. To curb this menace, the trucks are color coded and trip sheets are provided accordingly.

It should be remembered that V. Ponnuraj was also responsible for installing GPS in public transport vehicles few years back when the number of road accidents began to rise due to over speeding. This move met with reasonable success and brought down the number of accidents. Later this service was suspended. But it is believed that it will be restored in near future.

News articles on this issue can be found at:
  1. Mangalore: DC Announces Introduction of GPS to Check Illegal Sand Mining - http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=80550
  2. Sand mining is a filthy business: DC - http://www.megamedianews.in/?p=2521