- CSIR-CIMFR to conduct blasts at three places to gauge vibration impact
- Rs. 22 lakh paid as fee; explosives worth Rs. 8 lakh to be used
Mandya/Mysuru: The heat and dust raised over illegal stone and granite mining activity’s threat to Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam is showing no signs of thawing anytime soon as the Mandya District Administration is preparing to conduct trial blasts soon to study the impact of mining activities on the famed Dam.
At the same time, the farmers of the region have threatened to launch an agitation if at all the trial blasts are conducted. The trial blasts are scheduled to be conducted in and around Baby Betta, the epicentre of the mining activity in Pandavapura Taluk. The team will study the vibrations caused due to blasting.
Confirming this to Star of Mysore this morning, Shankaregowda, Chief Engineer of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited (CNNL) that manages the Dam, said that the CNNL has already paid Rs. 22 lakh to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CSIR-CIMFR) as a fee for blasts.
Mandya District Administration (Mines and Geology Department) will bear the cost of Rs. 8 lakh that will be used to purchase explosives to blast rocks at three places around the Dam, he said. The CSIR-CIMFR Office is located at Dhanbad in Jharkhand and routinely takes up multi-disciplinary research on mechanisation and automation of mining activities with the state-of-the-art technologies in the mining industry.
“We have written two reminders to CSIR-CIMFR asking them to conduct the trial blasts and the process is delayed due to COVID. Moreover, it is a Central Government Enterprise and we cannot direct them on dates, venue of blasts, etc. The team will arrive mostly by the end of this month,” Shankaregowda said.
It may be recalled here that in March this year, the CSIR-CIMFR team comprising Dr. C. Sawmliana, Senior Principal Scientist and Rakesh Kumar Singh, Senior Technical Officer inspected the crushing units at a radial distance of 20 kilometres from the KRS Dam to ascertain the mining impact. They had even identified three places to conduct trial blasts.
The team had visited the Dam after the Karnataka State Natural Disasters Monitoring Committee (KSNDMC) had recommended Mandya District Administration to check damages and fractures in the Dam structures in the wake of high-intensity blasts in the mining areas around the Dam. Following the recommendation, mining was banned in the 20-km radius of the Dam in 2018.
In the wake of mounting pressure from the mining and quarrying industries to resume blasting operations, the State Government had decided to seek CSIR-CIMFR’s opinion before permitting the blasts as any damage to the 90-year-old Dam will bear serious consequences.
Farmers up in arms
Meanwhile, conducting trial blasts depends on how the Government convinces the farmers. In January 2019, a team of scientists from Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune, was scheduled to conduct the trial blast for five days but had to cancel it as the farmers led by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) protested and launched a ‘Go Back’ campaign. Even the CWPRS wanted to examine the ground vibrations during the trial blasts.
At that time, the CNNL had paid Rs.19.25 lakh and the farmers objected and said that if at all the trial blasts have to be conducted, it has to be done under the supervision of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
This time too, farmers are opposing the blasts and are alleging that the District Administration has bowed to the pressure from illegal stone miners and has colluded with them.