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Unchecked quarrying in wildlife sanctuary

Chamarajanagar, July 20, 2013, DHNS: 1:03 IST

Elephant corridor passes through sensitive forest area

No walk in the park: Stone quarrying in the elephant corridor has proved a constant threat to the endangered species. dh photo
These are ecologically sensitive times and virtually every project comes under close scrutiny for environmental norms.

But the government seems to be looking the other way when it comes to cancelling the licences of eight black stone quarrying units in the limits of the Male Mahadeshwara wildlife sanctuary. Of the eight units, six are on government land.

Not banning mining there threatens the life of endangered wildlife species. The Yedeyarahalli-Doddasampige elephant corridor passes through the protected forest.

A team of officials from the departments of Forest, Revenue and Mines and Geology had come across violation of norms. On February 8, 2012, it recommended to the district administration that the mining licences be annulled. The district administration, in turn, wrote to the director of the mines and geology department, in March 2012, saying that the mining licences should be cancelled.

It is feared that explosives used in the quarrying industry can result in deaths or cause grievous injuries to animals.

Rule 41 of the Karnataka Forest Rules, 1969, states that non-forest activities cannot be undertaken with a radius of 100 metres of forest areas.

Stone quarrying continues unabated right at the border of the Male Mahadeshwara and Yedeyarahalli reserve forests.

The two reserve forests came under the Kollegal forest division in the past. Recently, the division was declared as the Male Mahadeshwara wildlife sanctuary.

Javed Mumtaz, deputy conservator of forests of the Male Mahadeshwara wildlife sanctuary, said that the Forest department had written to the deputy commissioner and the officials of the department of mines and geology. But that has not yielded the desired results.

He said they would write once again to these authorities in this regard, as the forest has now got the wildlife sanctuary status.

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