Hillocks melt away in Malur villages

Hillocks melt away in Malur villages

Faith can move mountains is a common saying. Those denuding hillocks in Kavalagiriyanahalli and nearby villages have proven it literally, with their immense belief in their ability to bend the rules.

The officials have failed to protect the natural resources. What has tied their hands, perhaps, is that some people’s representatives are themselves into illegal stone quarrying.

One example is the hillock which was beside the road in Kavalagiriyanahalli a couple of years ago. Today, the rampant stone quarrying in the area has ensured that it has moved a few yards away from the road. The quarrying is being undertaken with the help of stone crusher machines.

Hillocks are disappearing one by one from the topography of the villages of Tekal hobli. Vibrations in buildings are an everyday affair at more than 15 villages including Kavalagiriyanahalli, Hunisikote, Dasarahalli, Ullerahalli, Kommanahalli, Kempanahalli, Gundlahalli, Jangalalli, Urugurki, Halepalya and Kempasandra. There are a number of houses which have developed cracks due to the use of explosives in the quarrying activities.

The dust rising out of the quarries has caused health problems for people in the villages. That the rules are being flouted with impunity is apparent from the fact that the quarry is located just 100 metres from the government high school and college. The Malur-Bangalore State highway (number 99) is not very far from the place.

There is also a police station at a distance of just 400 metres. The dust pervading the area is hampering agriculture activities in the nearby fields. Quarrying is taking place at 15 places at least in the hobli day and night. The roads in the area have been heavily damaged due to the lorries transporting the stones out of the area.

People in the area express helplessness in stopping the rapacious activity in the hobli. The youth in the area lament the failure of the officials of the mines and geology department, Gram Panchayat and the district administration in protecting the natural resources.

The Supreme Court has ordered that there should be a safety zone around the stone crushing units. But the officials here have never bothered to ensure the implementation of the apex court‘s orders.

Meanwhile, the Gram Panchayat has washed its hands off the issue, saying that it is the mines and geology department which issues permits for quarrying and for setting up stone crushing units.

Govindagowda, development officer of the Kavalagiriyanahalli Gram Panchayat said that their responsibility ends with the collection of toll load-wise on the stone transported out of the hobli.

He told Deccan Herald that the Gram Panchayat issues a general permit for the stone crushing machine. Earlier, the fee collected was Rs 3,000 per year. This has now been hiked to Rs 10,000. Three such machines are operating in Kavalagiriyanahalli. He claimed that there have been no instances of houses developing cracks due to the quarrying activities.

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