- ‘It is private property; trial blast consent not obtained’
- ‘Government, officers are aware of accession treaty’
- ‘No other royal family is treated in India like this’
- ‘I am happy that the blasts have been stopped now’
Mysore/Mysuru: Member of the erstwhile Mysore royal family Pramoda Devi Wadiyar has opposed the trial blasts at Baby Betta in Pandavapura taluk and said that the proposed blast site belonged to the royal family and her consent was not obtained for the blasts.
“1,623 acres of land in Baby Betta belongs to the royal family as per the inventory of properties signed by the Government. The property where the trial blast is proposed is a settled matter way back in 1950. It is the private property belonging to the late Maharaja of Mysore as per the list of immovable properties accepted by the Government of India at the time of the accession of the States,” she told reporters yesterday.
Taking exception to the way the Government was acting with regard to the properties of the royal family, Pramoda Devi said “The Government is acting as if we are trying to encroach on others’ land. This is how the Government is torturing us. No other royal families are being treated like this in India.”
“Since 1950, 1,623 acres of the hillock belong to us. Baby Betta is included in the property sharing deed signed by the State of Mysore with the Government of India. This is private property and conducting trail blasts in that area is not right. For trial blasts, the experts should identify Government areas. They have plenty of lands and don’t understand why our land has to be chosen for the blasts. Scientists will be aware of these factors and they very well know the distance between the blast sites and the KRS Dam. I learnt that five places in Baby Betta have been selected for the blasts. I am happy that the blasts have now stopped due to the protests from farmers,” she said.
Mining a recent activity
“Not that the Government and the officers do not know. They are aware of the facts, they have the list of properties owned by the Government and the royal family and they have access to the Government order signed during accession and also they know who are the signatories. Mining was not there earlier and it is a recent phenomenon,” she explained.
She said that she wrote a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Mandya S. Aswathi urging her to stop blasts in the Baby Betta region. “Baby Betta is an arid land. On July 22 itself, I sent an email to the authorities concerned against this trial blast as I learnt from the media about the same, but I did not get any reply,” she said.
Asked whether she is mulling any legal step if the Mandya District Administration goes ahead with the trial blast, Pramoda Devi said, “We have raised our objection. If it gets addressed here itself, there is no need for us to take any further steps.”
When reporters asked her whether the royal family wants to do mining in Baby Betta, she clarified that she has no such intentions. “There is nothing left to mine in Baby Betta. Also, you feel sad when you see the hill ranges of Ramanagara,” she said.
During the course of the conversation with reporters, Pramoda Devi claimed no State Governments across India treats their royal families like in Karnataka. “There are no examples of Palace acquisitions or taking of properties for the throw-away price. I have been fighting the Mysore Palace case since 1998, and Bengaluru Palace case since 1996,” she said.
MP Sumalatha seeks status quo on mining
Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambarish has written a letter to Chief Minister Basa-varaj Bommai, Mini-ster of Mines and Geology Halappa Achar and the Mandya DC S. Aswathi on Monday, asking them not to allow mining and to maintain the status quo in areas around the KRS Dam.
She urged the CM to continue the ban on mining around the Dam site for the safety of the Dam and also in the interest of the people and farmers. Tremors had been felt in a radius of 20 km around the KRS Dam following legal and illegal mining done using bore blast, silent blast, and rig blast.
“If mining is allowed based on the report of the controlled blast, the safety of the Dam and the people would be at risk. This is not just my opinion but also of the farmers and progressive organisations,” she added.
Activists of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha staged a protest at the Mysuru DC Office yesterday opposing the proposed trial blasts and demanded a complete ban on mining in a radius of 20 km around the KRS Dam.
The farmers alleged that the trial blasts were green-signalled by the Government as it has bowed to the pressure from the mining lobby. They argued that farmers had opposed trial blasts earlier too and the teams were sent back. “The blast proposal is not transparent and the exercise is being carried out under pressure. The trial blasts have to be dropped,” they demanded.
Pramoda Devi writes to Mandya DC
In a letter addressed to Mandya DC S. Aswathi on Monday, Pramoda Devi said, “It is learnt with regret that despite the mail informing you of the private ownership of Baby Betta, a trial blast is proposed as per the media reports. I reiterate the point made in my mail regarding the ownership of the property referred to in the subject matter.”
“It is relevant to bring it to your kind notice that the Karnataka High Court has passed the order upholding the contention that the properties forming part of the accession treaty are private properties. The trial blast of explosives proposed at Baby Betta property in Pandavapura is the private property belonging to the late Maharaja of Mysore as per the list of immovable properties accepted by the Government of India at the time of the accession of the States. As this is a settled matter, kindly refrain from carrying out a trial blast at the proposed site for which my consent is not obtained, failing which I may be forced to take appropriate steps to safeguard my interest.”