Quarrying unsettles 30 villages in Chikkaballapur

Houses develop cracks; farming comes to grinding halt

Children in these villages tremble at the deafening sound of rock blasts; well-constructed houses have developed cracks; farmlands have fallen fallow and all that has remained of the roads is potholes. 

Domino effect: A quarrying site near Kanivenarayanapura in Chikkaballapur taluk. DH Photos

This is not a description of mine-ravaged villages in Bellary, but that of the villages in Chikkaballapur taluk, where stone quarrying has been going on unabated.

Reckless quarrying has wiped off age-old rock deposits in around 30 villages of Chikkaballapur, a backward taluk. A large chunk of the population in these villages are farmers, who have lost the source of their livelihood. The once fertile land has turned barren and the dust emanating from quarrying has been killing their cattle.

Quarrying has not left any option for the residents of Kanivenarayanapura, Bhadrenahalli, Nashakuntehalli, Sonnapura and other villages. They are neither getting coolie work to sustain themselves.

Worst hit

“Children are the most affected. They quiver with fear whenever rocks are blasted for quarrying. Elders run their eyes over the walls of houses after each blast to look for cracks in the walls. We fear for our lives,”said Kadireppa, a resident of Nashakuntehalli. Roads have been badly damaged due to frequent movement of hundreds of stone-laden trucks each day. The trucks, Kadireppa alleged, are often over-loaded. “Each time a truck passes, a cloud of dust engulfs the surroundings,” he said.

Anjinappa, a resident of Sadhumutt village faces a unique problem. “My house, located on the border of Chikkaballapur and Doddaballapur taluks, has developed cracks due to the blasts. Quarry operators shun the responsibility claiming that they had been quarrying in Chikkaballapur taluk,” he rued.

Suresh, another resident, said their repeated pleas to the elected representatives and authorities concerned to ban quarrying have fallen on deaf ears. He said neither any officer nor an elected representative had visited them even once to listen to their problems.

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