Communal twist to Bittangala quarrying project controversy
In a development which could have adverse impact on the environment and ecology of Kodagu, a communal colour is being given to the protests against quarrying in Nangala near Bittangala in Virajpet taluk in Kodagu district of Karnataka.
Addressing a media conference, advocate “C.K. Poovanna” alleged that people were opposing quarrying because it was being done on the land owned by P.P. Ummer Kutti, hailing from Kerala.
Mr Poovanna claimed that quarrying was being undertaken as per government norms and permission.
The advocate may be justified in stating that the necessary permission had been taken from the authorities for taking up quarrying.
But trying to inject communal colour into the entire controversy cannot be justified under any circumstance.
Col C.P. Muthanna (Retd), President of the Coorg Wildlife Society has opposed the project because of the environmental consequences. It would be diabolical to give a communal twist to the genuine protests from environmental agencies.
The environmentalists led by Col Muthanna had inspected the site and were convinced that when the quarry was fully operational, it would have serious environmental effects on the surrounding areas. In his report, Muthanna had stated: â€œThe noise and dust pollution will prove to be a major health hazard to the expectant mothers and infants of a Scheduled Caste colony in the close vicinity of the quarry and the stone dust could destroy coffee blossoms in the adjoining plantations. It is also a matter of concern that the quarry is almost contiguous to the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and hence forms part of an eco-sensitive zone.â€
Mr Poovanna has stated that Kutti had paid the necessary fees as per the norms of Mines and Geology Department after 6.44 acres of land was purchased by him under survey number 139/1, and the panchayat had given the permission in 2004. The advocate maintained that only authorized persons were carrying out the explosions.
Mr Poovanna maintained that imported machines were being used and there was no question of pollution or disturbance to the local people. A total of Rs 2.50 crores have been invested on the project.
EDITORâ€™S NOTE: The advocate may be right in stating that everything was legal and the papers were genuine.
But it is no secret that sometimes dubious elements manage to get official stamp for all their misdeeds.
The Western Ghats is one of the most ecologically sensitive spots in the world. It should not become a plaything in the hands of unscrupulous elements. The government should immediately intervene and put an end to quarrying in the vicinity of Bittangala, renowned for its forest-covered hills.