Quarrying continues in eco-sensitive zones

Quarrying continues in eco-sensitive zones

Continuing quarrying activities in eco-sensitive zones of reserve forests and national parks will worsen the man-animal conflict in the region, said Lok Adalat member, A N Yellappa Reddy at the Mysore regional Lok Adalat held recently.

Chamarajanagar DC, A M Kunjappa, revealed to the Lok Adalat that 218 mines and quarries, licensed by the department of Mines and Geology were operating in the district, with each mine enjoying a lease period of 10-20 years. “Many quarries are in eco-sensitive zones. We have sent a proposal to the State government to close the mines. Action against the mines has not yet been taken,” he said.

Lingaraju S, Director of BRT Tiger Reserve, said that five leases were given to mining and quarrying firms within two kilometres of the boundary of BRT Tiger Reserve. “Licenses of these companies have not yet been cancelled,” he said, despite the companies operating close to the reserve forests.

High Court Judge H N Nagmohan Das, who chaired the Lok Adalat, took objection to the fact that nothing has been done to close the quarries and mines, despite specific instructions to do so, during the previous Lok Adalat.

Pollution of reserve forests, especially in places of religious interest, such as Male Mahadeshwara Hills, should also be controlled, Das said. Yellappa Reddy, noting that littering of forests had continued, said that waste segregation must be done at the spot, to prevent animals and birds inside the forest from being affected by the pollutants.

Similar steps must be taken at Biligiri Rangana Hills, he said. “Muzrai department officials who work at these places must ensure the cleanliness of the region. People who set up stalls at these venues must be given express instructions not to litter the reserve forest,” he said.

Forest encroachment

Chikmagalur DC, B S Shekarappa was taken to task for "doing nothing" to clear the large scale encroachment of forests in the district. According to information furnished by the DC, forest encroachment of more than 12,000 hectares was yet to be cleared in the district.

Judge Nagmohan Das, reacting to the disclosure, said that state of forests in Chikmagalur was "pathetic", with forests being cut down and cleared on a daily basis.

Nagmohan Das said that strict action must be taken to reclaim the acquired land.

Chikmagalur oranges

Deputy director of Horticulture of Chikmagalur district, Sampath also suffered the ire of the Lok Adalat for his ignorance about the breed of Chikmagalur oranges. When Yellappa Reddy questioned him about the steps taken to safeguard Chikmagalur oranges, Sampath said that the department had proposed planting Nagpur breed of oranges in the region, which was opposed by the farmers.

Justifying the acts of the farmers, Nagmohan Das criticised him for not coming up with programmes to save a local fruit variety.

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