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Monday, March 08, 2021

Yediyurappa back-tracks on quarrying in Karnataka, Siddaramaiah hits out

On Saturday, the CM had said, “Those operating (quarries and stone crushers) without licenses will be given time to regularise their business failing which, they would face stringent legal action.”

By: Express Web Desk Written by Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: January 25, 2021 8:18:24 am

Days after a massive explosion near a quarry killed at least six people in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday clarified that quarrying would be allowed in the state but only “within the framework of law”.

On Saturday, the CM had said, “Those operating (quarries and stone crushers) without licenses will be given time to regularise their business failing which, they would face stringent legal action.”

Adding that his earlier statement on quarrying had been misinterpreted, the said, “With so many national highways, road construction, and public development works going on, gravel is needed. There is no problem in quarrying gravel within the framework of law but our objective is to stop illegal quarrying.”

After visiting the blast site in his hometown, Yediyurappa admitted that illegal mining was taking place at many places across the state. “I have directed deputy commissioners (DCs) of all the districts to stop illegal mining with immediate effect. Mining will be allowed only if applications are filed. DCs will do spot inspections and take appropriate action,” he added.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and former CM Siddaramaiah termed Yediyurappa’s statements as “irresponsible”. He urged the BJP-led government to take strict action against all those involved in illegal mining, irrespective of political affiliation.

“Yediyurappa is perhaps under the impression that legalising illegal mining is the same as regularising houses and land. He would not have made such an irresponsible statement if he had some of knowledge about the law?”

Holding the CM responsible for unauthorised mining “at such a large scale” in his home district, Siddaramaiah said, “Illegal mining is a serious issue. It has already taken the lives of many innocent people. I strongly demand an inquiry by a sitting High Court judge.

Revenue minister and vice-chairman of Karnataka Disaster Management Authority, R Ashok, on Sunday said that the investigation into the case would not be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Addressing media at Chikmagalur, he said, “Karnataka Police is quite capable of investigating the matter and therefore, it (the probe into the incident) will not be handed over to the CBI. Necessary action will be taken against those found guilty after a thorough probe.”

Three people, including the quarry owner, have been arrested in connection with the incident so far. On Friday, hours after the accident, Yediyurappa ordered a high-level probe into the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the dead.

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