Mandya MP must prove illegal mining in vicinity of KRS dam: K’taka minister Nirani

Karnataka to liberalise mining sector to generate more revenue, Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh R. Nirani (Twitter)
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Mandya MP must prove illegal mining in vicinity of KRS dam: K’taka minister Nirani

Kalaburagi (Karnataka): Following repeated accusations of illegal mining in the vicinity of the Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) dam in Karnataka, state Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh R. Nirani said on Saturday that Lok Sabha MP from Mandya, Sumalata Ambareesh, should produce valid documents to prove her relentless allegations of illegal mining in the surrounding areas of the dam.

On the sidelines of a meeting with Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and others in Kalaburagi, Nirani told reporters that he had conceded that illegal mining activity was carried out in Baby Betta (hill) in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district, but it is not done anymore.

“The hillock is 10 km from the iconic dam. But after I took over as the minister, I personally inspected the region four months ago and directed the concerned officials to stop all illegal mining activity immediately. The Mines and Geology Department of Mandya district took tough decisions to stop these activities. Since then, no illegal mining or quarrying activity has been witnessed so far,” he said.

The minister added that if the Mandya MP (Sumalataha) or anyone else thinks that any illegal activity is going on in the region, she/he must come forward with valid evidence to prove the allegations.

“These allegations are not only sensitive, but they also cause panic among lakhs of people in the state as well as in the neighbouring state,” he said.

Replying to a question, Nirani asserted that the state government would surely initiate an impartial investigation into the allegations if anyone can come forward with sufficient proof.

“There is no vested interest here. All the elected representatives must work together to fight such illegal mining or any other illegal activity in a most effective manner,” he said.

He added that mining activity was going on in the region for the last seven decades, but after coming to power in the state, the BJP has acted tough in the matter.

“We are in the process of banning mining activities in the 20 km vicinity of KRS dam instead of the present 10 km. We are in discussions with legal and irrigation experts on this matter,” he said.

Nirani’s statements have come following allegations levelled by the Mandya MP for the past one week that illegal mining is going on in the vicinity of the KRS dam, causing damage to its body.

This snowballed into a slugfest between JD(S) leaders, including H.D. Kumaraswamy and Sumalatha.

He KRS dam is one of the oldest structures in the state. It is a gravity dam made of surkhi mortar below the confluence of Cauveri river with its tributaries Hemavati and Lakshmana Tirtha in Mandya district.

The foundation stone for the dam was laid on November 11, 1911. The dam was built across the Cauveri river in 1924.

It is the main source of water for the districts of Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mandya. The water is also used for irrigation in Mysuru and Mandya districts and it is the main source of drinking water for all of Mysore, Mandya and almost the whole of Bengaluru city.

The water released from this dam flows into Tamil Nadu and is stored in the Mettur dam in Salem district.

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