Pavoor Uliya Kudru shrinking due to illegal sand mining, Locals demand justice


Team Udayavani, Jun 25, 2024, 11:41 AM IST

Pavoor Uliya Kudru, a small riverine island located in the middle of the Netravati River between Pavoor and Adyar, is shrinking due to illegal sand mining. Local residents have raised concerns that despite repeated complaints, the district administration and police department have failed to take any action.

Responding to the locals’ plea, the Catholic Sabha Mangalore Pradesh, along with a coalition of like-minded organizations, visited Uliya Kudru on Monday to inspect the affected site. They called for immediate intervention by the district administration to halt the sand mining, warning that a legal battle would be inevitable if no action is taken.

Dramatic Reduction in Island Size

Once spanning approximately 80 acres and extending 2 kilometers, the island has now shrunk to 40 acres and its length reduced to just 1 kilometer due to years of relentless sand mining. Local authorities fear that a major flood could wash away the entire island.

Previously, District Collector A. B. Ibrahim had issued an order prohibiting sand mining within a 1-kilometer radius around the island and had destroyed the sand pits. However, Bennett, a local resident, told Udayavani that the order was no longer enforced, leaving the island vulnerable.

Local Resistance and Pleas for Help

Despite multiple efforts to resist sand mining, locals feel overpowered by the money and muscle power of the sand extractors. Gilbert D’Souza, a resident, appealed for assistance to find a permanent solution and enable the community to live without fear.

Prominent figures who visited the island included Fr. Manohar D’Souza, Priest of Kudru Infant Jesus Church, Catholic Council Secretary Alvin Monteiro, former President Stany Lobo, Munir Katipalla, Manjula Nayak, K. Yadava Shetty, B. Shekhar, and Sunil Kumar Bajal.

A Community Under Threat

Pavoor Uliya Kudru, part of the Mangalore Assembly Constituency, lies between the Thumbe and Harekala dams in the Netravati River. The island, once home to over 50 families, now has only 35 families with about 130 residents, 99% of whom are Christians.

They rely on agriculture and external jobs for their livelihood, with boats being their primary means of transportation to the mainland.

Despite the construction of the Harekala Dam, which has kept the river level high even in summer, their longstanding demand for a bridge between Kudru and Adyar remains unmet. A temporary bridge built by the residents in the summer was reportedly damaged by sand smugglers a few years ago.

Roy Castellino, PRO of the Mangalore Diocese, accused various departments of colluding to drive the residents off the island through sand mining. He expressed hope that the traffickers would eventually face repercussions for their actions.

“We have come to see the problem of the people at the request of the locals. We called the Collector’s office and explained the plight of the locals on the spot. The fight for eternal relief must continue,” Castellino stated, emphasizing the need for persistent advocacy and action to protect Pavoor Uliya Kudru and its residents.

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