Report by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board regarding illegal mining in Palguni and Nethravathi rivers, Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka, 09/03/2023

  • 09/03/2023

Report by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to the National Green Tribunal dated March 9, 2023.

Report of the Joint Committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Original Application No. 592/2022 with respect to the petition filed by All Traditional River Fishermen Association, Karnataka. The matter related to sand mining in CRZ areas affecting the various species of fish. The petitioner had requested for protecting the various fish species in the Palguni and Nethravathi rivers from illegal sand miners.

The joint committee visited the areas along the Phalguni river bank. At the time of inspection, no sand bar removal was observed, however, the committee observed illegally stored fresh sand at two points on the banks of the river which was about 10 tonnes each.

During inspection the Traditional River Fishermen Association (TRFA) informed the committee about their traditional dependence on the river fisheries including fin fishes, shell fishes and shrimps for subsistence living. The fishermen said that due to removal of sand bar, lands of fishermen have been eroded and submerged inside the Phalguni and Netravathi rivers. Women involved in clam shell collection for food said that pollution in the river has killed the clams in the creeks nearby.

From the Mangaluru city area and Baikampady industrial area, untreated waste water is joining the river at several points through storm water nala.

The committee in its report has recommended framing of a separate sand bar removal policy and plan with respect to defining the sand bar in intertidal riverine ecosystem. As well as plan for extraction and using of removed sand material and also the quantum of sand to be removed.

The committee said that overall policy should not be guided by the demand and supply of the market but should have the guiding principles of :

  • Conservation of riverine biodiversity
  • maintaining the intactness of the riverine system and
  • protecting the livelihood of fishing communities.

With regard to restoration of river banks and erosion prevention, the CRZ and forest department should take up the mangrove plantation as a soft measure taking into confidence the local people and fishermen to stop erosion in the estuarine banks.