Farmers, activists threaten protests over illegal mining in vicinity of Krishna Raja Sagar dam
Blasts of high magnitude have shaken the farming community and activists in the region as they pose a threat to the 80-year-old reservoir that is the lifeline of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
MYSURU: With the countdown having started for Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's visit to offer bagina at the brimming Krishna Raja Sagar, the demand for a permanent ban on mining in and around the dam is getting louder.
The mining activities are carried out illegally and blasts of high magnitude have shaken the farming community, activists and environmentalists in the region as they pose a threat to the 80-year-old reservoir that is the lifeline of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The demand for a mining ban has been raised for the past 15-20 years by the Raitha Sangha and other organisations who managed to prevail on the authorities and saw that the Command Area Development Authority banned mining activities within a five km radius from the reservoir in 2011.
But the lack of political will and authorities succumbing to political pressures ensured that mining activities continued to thrive and have spread over a 20 km radius in areas covering Baby Betta, Chinnakurali, Anuganahalli that comprise of 2000 acres and also in about 7000 acres of forest land in Srirangapatna taluk that has led to serious law and order issues.
The rising pollution levels in both Srirangapatna and Pandavapura taluks and protests from the farming community and Raitha Sangha led to revenue officials banning mining for a few months.
The 13-page report from the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre and geologists observing that the use of blast material will further affect the safety of KRS added to farmers' worries.
RTI activist Ravindra said authorities are silent on illegal mining. Recalling the Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's assurance to crack down on illegal mining around KRS during his previous visit to the reservoir, he said the government has gone back on its promise.
What has stopped the authorities from imposing a blanket ban on mining operated by politicians and influential persons when the interests of both the states is involved, he asked.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha activists Badagalapura Nagendra said farmers would launch massive protests in the region and stage black flag demonstrations at various points during the Chief Minister's visit.
He said KRS is a national asset and urged the government to exhibit its political will instead of compromising. The government should learn from the devastation that occurred in Kodagu and other parts of the state, he added.