KARNATAKA

Quarrying near KRS: farmers’ outfit to launch stir

Staff Correspondent

It will block the Bangalore-Mysore highway in Mandya today



KRRS had set October 6 as the deadline for the Government to meet its demands

Puttannaiah blowing issue out of proportion: MLA



MYSORE: The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), which is worried over the safety of Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) because of the alleged illegal stone quarrying at Cauverypuram village, has resolved to launch an agitation as the Government “has not taken steps to stop the activity.”

KRRS had earlier set October 6 as the deadline for the Government to meet the long-pending demands of farmers, including stopping the illegal stone quarrying near KRS.

It has decided to block the Bangalore-Mysore Highway in Mandya on Tuesday to draw the attention of the Government to its demands.

Speaking to The Hindu, president of KRRS K.S. Puttannaiah said that stone quarrying at Cauverypuram village in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district was having an effect on KRS, which was the lifeline of farmers of Mysore and Mandya districts.

“Despite communicating the apprehensions of farmers over the safety of KRS because of the illegal quarrying at Cauverypuram, no action has been taken,” he regretted.

Stone quarrying was going on at a distance of just 4.5 km from the reservoir, and high intensity explosives were being used by quarry contractors.

Permission

The Department of Mines and Geology had permitted 404 licensees to engage in stone quarrying in 1,409 acres. But at least 1,000 persons were engaged in it.

“Some quarry owners were triggering off ‘bore blasts’ without caring for the safety of the reservoir. The apathy of the authorities concerned may cause irreparable damage to the reservoir,” he cautioned.

The KRRS conveyed its concern to the district administration a fortnight ago and the apprehensions were communicated to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa as well. But no action had been taken to contain quarrying, Mr. Puttannaiah regretted. Therefore, the farmers had decided to launch an agitation.

‘No cause for alarm’

However, Naveen, geologist in the Department of Mines and Geology, asserted that as the quarrying site was 8.5 km away from the reservoir, there was no need for any anxiety.

The “Karnataka Minor Minerals Concessions Rules 1994 has laid down restrictions on issuing lease and licences to conduct blasts at a distance of 50 metres and quarrying at 200 metres from the railway line, reservoirs and public structure.

The department has not given permission for quarrying in a 1-km radius of the reservoir. Cauverypuram is 8.5 km from the reservoir and there is no danger to it,” he said.

The department had issued licences to 87 persons in the area. Of that, 15 licences expired recently. The department received information on illegal carrying recently and officials went to the spot and took immediate action against those indulging in it, he said.

Meanwhile, the issue has taken a political turn with Melkote MLA Puttaraju accusing the KRRS of blowing the issue out of proportion. He said Mr. Puttannaiah was raising the issue of stone quarrying in Baby Betta area of Cauverypuram village simply because his (MLA’s) relatives were involved in quarrying.

Incidentally, Mr. Puttaraju defeated Mr. Puttannaiah in the Assembly elections.



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