Karnataka

Villagers worry as houses develop cracks due to blasts at Yettinahole canal site

Residents of G.G. Koplu in Alur taluk demanding compensation for the damage caused to their houses due to blasts conducted as part of Yettinahole project canal work.

Residents of G.G. Koplu in Alur taluk demanding compensation for the damage caused to their houses due to blasts conducted as part of Yettinahole project canal work. | Photo Credit: PRAKASH HASSAN

For the last 25 days, residents of Gore Gowdana Koplu in Palya hobli of Alur taluk in Hassan district have been staging a protest over the alleged damage caused to their houses due to the blasts conducted as part of the canal work for the Yettinahole project.

Many of the 45 houses in the village have been hit by the series of blats conducted to break the rocks that come in the way of the canal. Several walls have developed cracks in the last couple of months, prompting the residents to demand a suitable compensation. Residents of Hebbanahalli in Sakleshpur taluk had made similar claims in March this year, saying blasts were resulting in cracks in their houses.

Many houses in G.G. Koplu in Alur taluk have been damaged due to blasts conducted as part of Yettinahole canal work.

Many houses in G.G. Koplu in Alur taluk have been damaged due to blasts conducted as part of Yettinahole canal work. | Photo Credit: PRAKASH HASSAN

The Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water Supply Project aims to carry water from the west-flowing streams to the dry areas of Chickballapur, Kolar, and other districts. The canals are being constructed in parts of Sakleshpur, Alur, Belur, and Arsikere taluks to carry water. “We did not oppose the project work until the blasts began. Whenever blasts occurred, the ground beneath our feet shakes. After a series of blasts, walls develop cracks,” said Yogeesh, a resident of the village.

Long-drawn protest

The residents have put up a tent next to the canal site to stage a dharna. They staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Hassan on Thursday as well. They met taluk-level and district-level officers seeking justice. Following their protests, blasts were stopped at the site. “We ensured the blasts are stopped as we were worried about our safety. The school walls have also developed cracks. Anganwadi children used to return home in fear when the blasts were conducted,” said Kantaraj, another resident.

The district administration has given compensation of ₹13 lakh each to the owners of four houses that were damaged due to the project work. “The amount paid is insufficient. They cannot afford to build a new house with that money, given the current price of construction materials. Also, now almost all houses have been hit by the work. The government has to provide compensation for all,” demanded Shailaja.

The protesters claimed that the village is located on a huge rock. As a portion of the rock is being broken using explosives, the entire village was suffering the impact. “We have urged the administration to bring in experts and study how the damage is being caused. Due to our protests, officers from the Revenue Department and Yettinahole project officials have taken video footage of the walls that have developed cracks. Let them study the impact scientifically and announce a proper compensation,” said Kallesh.

Residents upset

The villagers said during one of their meetings with Yettinahole project officers, an officer reportedly said the government would give compensation only if anybody died due to the damage caused by the blasts, which has enraged the residents. “Do they want us to die to claim compensation? Whom would they hand over the compensation money if we die?” asked Sujatha, a resident.

Hassan Deputy Commissioner R. Girish, during the residents’ protest in Hassan, said compensation had been paid to four houses in the village. If more houses were damaged, the officers would visit the village and assess the situation.


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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 7:24:57 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/villagers-worry-as-houses-develop-cracks-due-to-blasts-at-yettinahole-canal-site/article65564017.ece