Proposed trial blasts at KRS Dam: Scientist team from Jharkhand to return without inspection
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Proposed trial blasts at KRS Dam: Scientist team from Jharkhand to return without inspection

March 5, 2024

Mandya: In a repeat of the events that unfolded on July 25, 2022, the Mandya District Administration was compelled to suspend trial blasts near the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district this morning. This decision was prompted by vehement protests by farmers.

As a result, the team of scientists from Jharkhand’s Dhanbad-based Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CSIR-CIMFR), who had arrived at KRS for the inspection, had no choice but to return to Jharkhand without completing their mission.

In January this year, the Karnataka High Court imposed a ban on all forms of mining and quarrying activities within a 20-km radius of the historic Dam. The Court said that the ban will remain in force until the completion of a comprehensive study conducted by experts,  in accordance with the provisions outlined in the Dam Safety Act of 2021.

The Court instructed authorities to conduct the study without imposing a strict deadline, allowing for flexibility based on the progress and feasibility of the study.

Following the Court’s directive, a team of four scientists from CSIR-CIMFR arrived in Bengaluru around 5.30 pm yesterday and were accommodated at the Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden Hotel.

MLA too joins protest

Today, the team was scheduled to inspect and identify potential areas in the surroundings of Bebi Betta near the Dam for the trial blast. However, upon learning of the inspection, over 300 farmers, led by the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and groups led by Melukote MLA Darshan Puttannaiah, along with over 100 BJP activists, staged a protest at the KRS North Gate this morning, expressing their opposition to the trial blasts.

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Addressing the protestors, KRRS State President Badagalapura Nagendra emphasised the historical significance of the KRS Dam and stressed the collective responsibility to safeguard the reservoir.

He paid tributes to the late MLA K.S. Puttannaiah, highlighting Puttannaiah’s persistent efforts in the Assembly to urge the State Government to prohibit mining activities near the KRS Dam. Nagendra also acknowledged the advocacy of veteran freedom fighter late H.S. Doreswamy against mining activities in the reservoir vicinity.

Officials meet farmers

Amid staunch opposition from various organisations, the scientists team convened a meeting with the Mandya Deputy Commissioner and officials from Cauvery Niravari Nigam Limited (CNNL) at the office of the CNNL Executive Engineer this morning. MLA Darshan Puttannaiah, present to oppose the trial blasts, was also invited to participate in the meeting.

However, the decision to only invite Darshan Puttannaiah and other KRRS leaders to the meeting didn’t sit well with BJP leaders and activists on-site. Led by Mandya BJP President Indresh, BJP activists demanded their inclusion in the discussions.

They protested against the State Government, Police and officials for excluding them from the meeting, alleging possible collusion between KRRS and officials to proceed with the trial blasts.

The meeting continued until 1 pm and according to sources and farmers present, the CSIR-CIMFR team will return to Jharkhand without any inspection.

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