Forest Dept into illegal quarrying

Boulders blasted for construction of elephant detterence trenches

Forest Dept into illegal quarrying

Quarry query: Quarrying in progress in Nagarahole National Park. DH Photo

In what could be termed as blatant violation of Wildlife Protection Act by none other than the Forest Department, boulders are being blasted for construction of Elephant Prevention Trenches under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Besides, the fragments of boulders are being converted into size stones in the park itself. The work is being executed in Antarasante wildlife range by the Gram Panchayat under the supervision of the Department.

Taraka reservoir is located half a kilometre away from the quarrying location. Forest Department quarters are also in the vicinity. Blasting of boulders should not be carried out here from safety point of view also. The Park has been recently declared as sensitive zone for tigers and permission should be obtained to carry out any non-forest activity in the Park. However, no such sanction has been obtained from Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

Unhindered access

The work under progress has given unhindered access to human beings into wildlife habitat. Obviously, the intrusion would be a cause of disturbance for animals which may even stray into human habitat due to the din of blasting.

The act of the department in allowing the work while objecting to tribals inhabiting the Park, has come in for sharp criticism. It appears that quarrying has not come to the notice of senior officials in the Department.

The higher officers are busy in preparing for the tiger census scheduled to commence from January 22. Moreover, Nagarhole has no whole time Deputy Conservator of Forests as of now. DCF Vijayaranjan is also in-charge of Mysore Zoo.

The local people have also alleged irregularity in disposing of the size stones.

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