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KRRS opposes ‘trial blasts’ near KRS; wants blanket ban on stone extraction

Mandya

The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) has opposed the proposed ‘trial blasts’ in the vicinity of the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir, which is expected to commence from Monday, suspecting it to be a conspiracy to help stone extractors. Consequent to a request by the Irrigation Department, following two major quarry blasting signatures (QBS) or tremors caused by quarrying recorded close to the reservoir on September 25 last year, the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has decided to examine the ground vibrations to check if they will potentially damage the reservoir.

A team of experts from the Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune, of the ministry is expected to commence trial blasts from Monday to monitor the ground vibrations owing to blasts at nearby stone quarries. According to the district administration, the trial blasts will be held for five days at selected quarries under the “strict supervision” of the Police, Revenue and Mines and Geology Departments. Nevertheless, the farmers’ body has raised suspicion and demanded blanket ban on stone extraction in the vicinity of the reservoir.

“When we are strongly opposing all kinds of blasts and stone extraction activities near the reservoir, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. has decided to study the ground vibrations owing to blasting and the district administration has permitted them,” Shambhunahalli Suresh, district president, KRRS, said. Speaking on Sunday, he said the proposed trial blasts could be a carefully planned plot to continue stone extraction activities.

Major QBS were reported on several occasions and two such tremors were felt close to the KRS in September. Following the development, the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre had asked the Irrigation Department to initiate measures considering the safety of KRS. There are over 65 stone quarrying units functioning within a close radius of KRS and many of them violate safety regulations. Many influential political leaders are reportedly involved in stone extraction activities near Baby Hills, Chinakurali and other places in Srirangapatna and Pandavapura taluks. The KRRS has decided to stage protests against the proposed trial blasts from Monday.

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