TN stone crusher firm prowls the periphery of tiger reserve

TN stone crusher firm prowls the periphery of tiger reserve

Officials fail to act despite orders from the Forest Minister

A Tamil Nadu company has allegedly been quarrying on an encroached  government land at the tiger reserve near Biligirirangana Temple Wildlife Sanctuary (BRTWLS) near Huthuri village in Hanur of Kollegal taluk.

wild act  Crusher belonging to a Tamil Nadu company carries out quarrying at  a site close to Biligirirangana Temple Wildlife Sanctuary in Kollegal taluk. DH photo

This despite the orders of the Forest minister to evict the stone crushing unit on survey no  377/2, a stone’s throw from the boundary of the sanctuary. “It is also close to Hanur reserve forest that is proposed to be merged with the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary,” said N Krishnamurthy, an environmentalist. The forest officials have turned a blind eye to the quarrying just hundred metres from the reserve, disturbing the tranquility of the wildlife, he alleged.

Selvi Amman Constructions, the company which undertook a project to lay road to link Lokhalli and Handinaripura that connects Mysore, Chamarajanagar and Kollegal, has not completed the work on a three-km stretch where it set up the stone crushing unit, said B K Shivakumar, a resident and member of Nithya Nuthana Samsthe, an NGO.

Violating the wildlife laws, the company has been using explosives to blast the rocks, the residents said. A H Anand, another environmentalist, said: “There were a lot of protests from people and even a complaint has been lodged with the Forest department, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the minister for forest. But the quarrying continues unabated.”

In his letter dated January 4, 2012, a copy of which is available with Deccan Herald, the Forest minister directed the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) to stop the stone-crushing unit.

The letter stated that the firm was operating without permission from the department and using explosives, affecting the wildlife. So far, the officials have not acted on the minister’s letter and the company continues its operations. The residents alleged that the company in cahoots with the officials, continued quarrying illegally.

Range Forest Officer Ashok said he could not initiate any action against the company as it does not come under his purview. But, quarrying and crushing units should not be allowed in the 10-km radius of the tiger reserve, national park or wildlife sanctuary. According to the forest official, the stone crushing unit is located within just five km from the BRT tiger reserve.

When contacted, Sharadamma, an environment officer, said the company has not responded to the notice issued by her. The company has continued to quarry even after power and water supply were disconnected, she added. Sharadamma has brought the matter to the notice of the deputy commissioner.

PCCF A K Varma told Deccan Herald that he has assumed office recently and would look into the matter.

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