The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) has extended its support to Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh who has raised concerns over illegal mining in the district and the safety of the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir.
Addressing mediapersons here on Sunday, Badagalpura Nagendra of KRRS said that farmers and concerned activists have been raising their voice against mining and stone quarrying within a 20 km radius of the dam for over at least two decades. There are also concerns over the dangers such activities posed to the reservoir, said Mr. Nagendra.
He said the KRRS, with other activist groups including Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, will launch a people’s movement to save the KRS and seek an end to quarrying.
“We are not concerned over whether the quarrying activity is legal or illegal. The fact remains that any stone mining or extraction entails use of explosives and poses danger to the dam which is the lifeline to millions of people in the downstream,” said Mr. Nagendra. He said the issue was also raised by the KRRS leader late K.S. Puttanaiah when he was an MLA but nothing had changed at the ground.
Expressing concern over the statements of the Minister for Mines and Geology Murugesh Nirani that the dam was safe, the KRRS leader suspected an internal understanding or a compromise between politicians. “Murugesh Nirani is keen to take over Mysugar Factory in Mandya and hence he may have struck a deal with the local MLAs supportive of mining. It is likely that the MLAs will not oppose his take over of the Mysugar Factory so long as he does not stop mining,” said Mr. Nagendra.
The KRRS will also convene a meeting in Mandya next week to chalk out the course of action on the mining issue and seek a ban on quarrying and mining within a 20 km radius of the KRS dam, Mr. Nagendra added.
Ponting out that a ban on quarrying was introduced to protect the Gomateshwara statue at Gommatagiri on the KRS backwaters on the grounds that the statue had developed cracks, he said a similar ban on mining and quarrying around KRS was a must.
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