Blasting and crushing activity is polluting the area: locals

Members of the Sonnappanahalli and Bettahalsooru Gramasthara Horata Sangha have alleged that illegal quarrying is being carried out near Bettahalsooru, about 7 km from Bengaluru International Airport.

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, the members alleged that the Bettahalsoor Quarry, Lorry and Crusher Owners’ Association was carrying on quarrying without following guidelines.

According to Vinay G, a member of the sangha, one of the guidelines states that stone quarries should be carried out in ‘safe zones’ at least two kilometres away from habitats, schools, rivers and national highways. And, there should be no two safe zones within a radius of 50 km.

One such zone has been established near Sonnappanahalli and Bettahalsooru where a stone-crushing unit is located, he said. “But it violates all guidelines. Despite a Supreme Court order, the safe zone is in the midst of five government schools, six anganwadis and two government hospitals. It is just 500 metres away from NH 7. Besides, another safe zone is Mittakanhalli located less than 15 km away,” Mr. Vinay alleged.

The zone is located in a green belt. Groundwater levels are decreasing as quarrying is being carried out at a depth of up to 300 feet. “Besides this, the blasting and crushing activity is polluting the area, leading to health problems and resulting in cracks in houses located in the vicinity. The activity has breached the retaining wall of Bettahalsooru and Kadiganahalli lakes, leading to leakage,” he alleged.

Members of the sangha claimed that products such as ammonium nitrate and detonators, which are used in explosives, are easily available in the area and that sellers are not maintaining a record of the buyers. The members said they approached the local gram panchayat with their complaints, but in vain.

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