‘Illegal’ stone quarries pose threat

Units in this belt run by the powerful; they have permission but violate norms

Published: 23rd January 2021 06:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2021 06:03 AM   |  A+A-

Police officers investigate the blast site near Shivamogga on Friday | Shimoga Nandan

Express News Service

SHIVAMOGGA: Protests and memorandums submitted to bureaucrats, district administration, Department of Mines and Geology by residents of Hunasodu, Abbalagere, Koteganguru, Kallaganguru and surrounding villages for the past several years “went unanswered” — this was the collective anguish expressed by villagers against the blast that took five lives in Hunasodu on Thursday. There were more than 50 stone quarrying and crushing units operating in the area.

MP B Y Raghavendra confirmed that there are “some” illegal units operating in this belt — Hunasodu, Koteganguru and Kallaganguru region. According to sources, though these units have permission from the Department of Mines and Geology, none of them adhere to the norms imposed by the department. Are these units permitted to heavy quantity of explosives like gelatin, asked MLC Ayanur Manjunath.

Somla Naik, a villager of Abbalagere, told TNIE, “Most of these units are run by influential people and they have political backup too. Is it possible to run such units without political or bureaucrat support?” In 2019, Girish, a tahshildar from Shivamogga, went incognito to visit Koteganguru and probe the suspected illegal activities reported in stone quarries.

However, within a few months, Girish was transferred. Quoting this incident, Manjunath said that it was the “stone quarrying and crushing mafia” that transferred him. Now the villagers demand the government to legalise the operations of these units and to see that there are no violation of norms.

Blast spreads fear in Mandya over safety of KRS

Mysuru: The high-velocity blast sound, followed by the explosion of gelatin sticks at Hunasodu village near Shivamogga, with nearby houses developing cracks, has left people and activists in Mandya district worried about the safety of the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir. Suspected illegal mining carried out in over 100 places in Banagadi, Cauverypura, Chinnakurali, Babybetta and Honagadi of Mandya district has led to an apprehension on extensive use of blast material. The Raitha sangha and Dalit activists have urged the government to ban alleged illegal mining in the area. The pollution has threatened farming and feared it would pose a threat to KRS reservoir.


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