KARWAR: Though tall claims were made by the government to protect the Western Ghats areas of Karnataka, the areas were busy with uncontrolled illegal quarrying and mining.
The latest example of such illegal quarrying is Berde village in Ankola taluk where the state officials are afraid to enter. This illegal quarrying is going on just 50 metres away from the bunkers and the tunnel built by the Indian Navy. Despite this, explosives are used to blast the boulders with scant respect to the law, villagers say.
The villagers opine that though the stone quarrying is banned in entire Uttara Kannada it is extensive in Berde village. The villagers further allege that the forest officials forest, mines and geology department people are scared to enter the village because the illegal quarry owners simply attack them.
People also alleged that some senior officials of forest department were hand in glove with these illegal quarry owners. That is why the lower level departmental staff is reluctant and scared to enter it, said Mr Ramakrishna Nayak, who is protesting the encroachment of the forest land by these quarry owners.
He also alleged that despite repeated letters the forest officials are maintaining the silence. He said the quarrying is also rampant on agriculture and forest lands, an illegal road was constructed in the forest without permission he alleged.
This allegation was denied by the Assistant Conservator of forest Ankola, Mr M D Todurkar, stating that the allegation is partially true. He further agreed that the there was illegal quarrying in the area and FIR was filed against those who were responsible for it. “If it still continues then the action would be taken. It was the responsibility of Mines and Geology department to take action against those who are doing
The Deputy Director of Mines and Geology department, Mr G G Hegde, said that the illegal quarrying in Berde village has not come to the notice of the department. He made it clear that nobody was given permission for quarrying in the area. He also said that the officials would check and the cases registered against the guilty.
The villagers of Berde have requested that the blasting by the illegal quarrying should be immediately stopped and police should take action against the guilty under the Explosive Act.