Illegal quarry thrives on the fringes of Athur reserve forest

Illegal quarry thrives on the fringes of Athur reserve forest

Illegal quarry on the periphery of Athur reserve forest in Kushalnagar forest division  has taken a toll on the forest resources. Though the permission for quarry at Ooruduve in Gondibasavanahalli was obtained for a period of five years, quarrying continues even after four years of the expiry of the license.

Quarrying has been taking place at Ooruduve in Gondibasavanahalli in Mullusoge Gram Panchayat limits since 40 years.

But, eight years ago the mines and geology department had given permission to only four quarry owners to take up quarrying in the said area for a period of five years. But, with the expiry of the license in 2011, the number of people getting into quarry business has increased  by several folds. Mullusoge Gram Panchayat President M S Shivanand told Deccan Herald that over 40 individuals are into illegal quarrying in Athur reserve forest range in Mullusoge GP limits.

Despite the rampant quarrying destroying acres of forest land, the forest department officials appear to be in a deep slumber. A visit to the quarrying site reveals the pathetic plight of the area. Rocks have been dug upto 250 to 300 feet deep in seven to eight acre land. Lakh of rupees worth teak wood and other trees which were abundantly grown in this forest area have been disappeared, he said.

In addition to the destruction of forest, explosives used in the quarry, have made the surrounding forest region impossible for wild animals to habitat. As a result, wild elephants and other animals have started entering the neighbouring villages like Athur, Harangi and Herur, creating fear among the farmers over the destruction of crops.

Quarry owners have also violated the rule that the quarrying site should be at a minimum distance of 30 metres from the forest area. Yet, the forest officials have been maintaining that quarry is taken up legally.
The range forest officer said “quarrying is going on in the region for last 40 years and the elected representatives including the MLAs, MP and the department officials are aware of it.”

Illegal quarry is not only damaging the forest land, but also incurring huge loss to the government.

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