Karnataka

Boy’s death upon falling on ‘burning soil’ triggers concern in Mysuru

An official takes a photograph of hot ash coming out of the soil on the 4.5-acre plot near Shyadanahalli, about 10 km from Mysuru city, on Monday.

An official takes a photograph of hot ash coming out of the soil on the 4.5-acre plot near Shyadanahalli, about 10 km from Mysuru city, on Monday.  

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After a mysterious fire on the outskirts of Mysuru, which claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy who suffered serious burns a few days ago, an expert committee has been formed to conduct a probe.

The committee will include senior officials from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), a scientist, officials of the departments of Mines and Geology, Fire, and Factories and Boilers, and police officers.

The deceased, Harshal, a resident of Shyadanahalli, had sustained burns when he and his friends went to a vacant plot at Naganahalli near Belavatha village to attend nature’s call. Harshal slipped on the loose soil and suffered burns as he fell on the “very hot” soil. Locals believe the soil was searing because of illegal dumping of chemical waste.

Harshal passed away at K.R. Hospital on Sunday, while his friend Manoj is being treated for burns. The incident has sparked concerns among villagers.

The 4.5-acre land where the incident took place belongs to a Swamy of Kumbarkoppal in Mysuru, and is located close to the new currency printing press of the Reserve Bank of India. Officials are yet to confirm whether chemicals had been illegally dumped at the site and were indeed the reason the soil was burning.

Samples to be analysed

A three-member technical advisory committee of the KSPCB from Bengaluru visited the area on Monday and collected soil samples for analysis. Samples have also been sent to the Central Pollution Control Board.

The area was cordoned off on Monday and prohibitory orders clamped to prevent people from going near the site. The ban orders will continue to be in force for the next 15 days and may be extended to facilitate the probe, sources said.

Speaking to reporters, Minister H.C. Mahadevappa, the district in-charge, said he has asked the district administration to probe the incident and study whether chemicals had been illegally dumped on the plot.

Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep told The Hindu that the Deputy Director of Factories and KSPCB officials have been directed to find out whether industrial waste had been burnt at the spot. “We are also not ruling out any geological phenomenon at this stage. There seems to be no large-scale dumping of waste either since the area is difficult to access. The probe will look into all these aspects,” he said.

Senior Environment Officer A.M. Lingaraju said that the help of various departments has been availed to test the soil. The presence of chemicals and their nature will be known only after the lab tests. “Thereafter, we can pinpoint which industry could have dumped the waste. It may take three or four days to decipher the contents,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:11:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/boys-death-upon-falling-on-burning-soil-triggers-concern-in-mysuru/article18084924.ece

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