Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ryots body threatens stir against quarrying - Daily News & Analysis

DNA - Bangalore - Ryots body threatens stir against quarrying - Daily News & Analysis
The ongoing `illegal' stone quarrying near Cauverypuram village, located close to the water bodies of Krishnaraja Sagara Dam known as KRS or Brindavan Gardens, is not just a threat to the dam's safety; it'll dry up the drinking water supply to Mysore and Bangalore. 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, which might prove fatal for the dam, farmer leaders point out.

Worried over the dam's safety and irked at the governmental apathy, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), has resolved to launch a mass agitation soon.

The reservoir is among the primary sources of water to Srirangapattana, Pandavapura and Mandya, besides Bangalore and Mysore, though Bangalore is the largest consumer of water from this source. This apart, the reservoir feeds the crops of scores of villages in Mysore and Mandya districts that primarily grow sugar cane and paddy.

Krishnaraja Sagara reservoir, a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, can store up to 49 tmc water. It has a maximum depth of 124.8 ft with 152 surplus sluice gates starting from heights of 113 ft to the lowest at 12 ft. The state government recently decided to add another 15 sluice gates to support the structure. But this is of little use if unbridled quarrying goes on, it is pointed out.

According to KRS leaders, the state government has so far not taken the matter seriously. Speaking to DNA, president of KRS KS Puttannaiah said that stone quarrying at Cauverypuram in Mandya district (located at an 1.5 hours drive from Mysore) was perilous to the dam. An endangered dam will in turn affect farmers and urban centres.

Statistics have a different story to tell. Though the Department of Mines and Geology has permitted only 404 licensees for stone quarrying in 1,409 acres, more than 1,000 contractors are engaged in it. Few contractors were triggering off 'bore blasts' which is highly dangerous for the reservoir. "The indifference of the authorities concerned may cause irreparable damage to the reservoir," Puttannaiah said.

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