Kodagu reserve forest under threat from illegal stone miners; wrongdoers include forest staff

Over 30 feet deep earth mines have been found inside the reserve forest area and ironically, these mines have been dug with the support and help from the people appointed as forest staff and forest gu

Published: 09th January 2022 05:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2022 05:35 PM   |  A+A-

Earth mine over 30 feet deep found next to the forest department camp at the reserve forest area (Photo | Special Arrangement)

By Express News Service

MADIKERI: The Nishane Motte belt at Pattighat Reserve Forest in Talacauvery Sanctuary shelters rich shola forest and is home to a variety of wildlife. While the entry to the forest is restricted in the name of protection, this restriction has provided a clean cover to increasing illegal mining of crystal stones.

Over 30 feet deep earth mines have been found inside the reserve forest area and ironically, these mines have been dug with the support and help from the people appointed as forest staff and forest guards.

The picturesque Nishane Motte belt in the Talacauvery Sanctuary had become a victim of illegal stone mining nearly two decades ago. However, to curb the illegal mining that was then conducted by a few locals, the area was declared as protected forest land and the illegal earth mines were then sealed with concrete.

The protection of the forest came into the hands of the forest department and heavy restrictions were laid for the entry of the residents and even for the entry of cattle. However, the illegal mining continued at the site – this time discreetly and with the support from the in-charge forest department staff. Nevertheless, this discreet action came into light after a rift arose between the accused forest staff who were involved in the mining of the stones.

“Earth mine over 30 feet deep has been found concealed under the soil and this is connected to an old earth mine. More investigation in this regard is required and I have sought a complete report on the incident,” shared Poovaiah, Madikeri DCF who recently visited the spot to investigate the case.

He confirmed the involvement of a few forest staff in the case and said, “Notices have been served to the suspected defaulters in the case. Suspensions will be made after obtaining a complete investigation report on the matter. The department will definitely take the necessary lawful action against all involved in the illegal mining.”

Meanwhile, he added that camera traps will be now installed in the area and measures will be taken to permanently stop illegal mining inside the protected forest.

Inspection at the spot has unearthed the equipment and ropes concealed inside the forest bushes and heaps of soil that was unearthed from the mine were also found near the water source in the forest area.

Ironically, the earth mine has been found right next to the forest guard camp, directly pinpointing the involvement of the staff in the incident. The villagers also suspect the involvement of a few locals and bigwigs from the district; they shared that no stringent action has ever emerged against the defaulters, despite the case of illegal mining being reported at the area earlier several times.



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