It was a sound we had ‘never heard before’, say residents

Minister Murugesh Nirani at the blast site at a stone quarry near Shivamogga on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“It felt as though someone violently pushed me out of the bed,” said Meenakshi Bai of Kallu Gunguru village, who is still to recover from her experience late on Thursday night. A massive explosion at a quarry in the neighbouring Hunasodu village, about 500 metres away, has left five labourers dead.

“I could not even speak for a long time... Walls of my house have developed cracks and the roof tiles shattered,” said the 65-year-old. She lives alone in the house, while her son’s family stays close by.

Though she has lived here for the last 50 years, this is the first time she has heard such a huge sound. “Blasts do occur in the quarry, but I had never heard anything of this magnitude,” she said.

A damaged house at Kallu Ganguru village in Shivamogga taluk.

A damaged house at Kallu Ganguru village in Shivamogga taluk.   | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

Her son Kishor Naik, who had slept on the terrace, got up as he heard the first blast, a relatively mild one. “Within a few seconds, there was a huge blast, something I have never heard in my lifetime,” he said. A flash of fire, followed by thick clouds of dust and smoke engulfed the whole area. “We could not breathe for some time. The air was clear only an hour later,” he said. Windows and tiles of his house too have been damaged.

Lakshmi Bai, a local resident, said, “We all ran out of the house, with no knowledge of what was happening.”

Looking for parts

The magnitude of the explosion was so high that parts of the truck, in which explosive material was kept, were strewn as far away as 800 m from the site of the blast. Hundreds of people, who had gathered near the spot on Friday, were seen hunting for vehicle parts, trying to identify broken and mangled remains.

Devaraj of Gajanur, who had come to the spot out of curiosity, said his place was about 25 km away from the blast site, but he heard the sound as if it happened close to his place. “All people in our village ran out of their houses as they heard the sound. We all thought it was an earthquake,” he said.

Krishna, a cable operator at Vidya Nagar in Shivamogga, said transmitters were damaged owing to the blast. “I had to repair the gadgets and restore transmission as there was pressure from the public who wanted to watch news and understand what had happened,” he said.

No damage to dams

The blast site is hardly three or four kilometres away from the outskirts of Shivamogga city. Two major reservoirs of the district — Tunga dam at Gajanur and Bhadra reservoir near Tarikere — are within a radius of 30 km from the site. Many had expressed fears that the blast could have impacted the reservoirs. Shivamogga Deputy Commissioner K.B. Shivakumar, however, said officials had examined the dams and no damage was noticed.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 4:55:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/it-was-a-sound-we-had-never-heard-before-say-residents/article33638395.ece

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