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Illegal blasts unabated in stone quarries

Illegal blasts unabated in stone quarries
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Illegal blasts unabated in stone quarries. Illegal blasts as part of stone quarrying are terrorising residents in Singupuram, Chilakapalem, Rapaka, Krishnapuram and Lidaam areas in Srikakulam rural, Etcherla and Ponduru mandals in the districts.

residents in villages in grip of fear

Srikakulam: Illegal blasts as part of stone quarrying are terrorising residents in Singupuram, Chilakapalem, Rapaka, Krishnapuram and Lidaam areas in Srikakulam rural, Etcherla and Ponduru mandals in the districts. About 160 quarries are in operation in these mandals without valid permissions. Digging and cutting is going on these quarries involving use of explosives like gun powder, ammonium nitrate, electric and ordinary detonators putting the lives and property of people in surrounding areas in risk.

A hill which lost its shape due to blasts at Rapaka in Ponduru mandal.(right) Walls of a house that developed cracks because of the quarry blasts in Krishnapuram under Ponduru mandal.

“During summer we are spending sleepless nights because of the blasts which led to cracks in the walls of our houses,” said Vavilapalli Lakshmi of Krishnapuram village. Pydi Appanna, of Illayyagaripeta, said, “We complained to officials several times on the blasts but no action has been taken against quarry owners.

Dust and stones are falling in our agricultural fields from the blasts.” Occasional inspections and sporadic police cases have done nothing to deter the quarry owners. Explosives which are used indiscriminately in quarries are being transported to all quarries in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts from Krishnapuram and Narsapur Agraharam in Ponduru mandal and Singupuram in Srikakulam rural mandal by middlemen.

Permission from village panchyat through a resolution is mandatory for carrying out digging and cutting of stones from hillocks. Along with it, Revenue, Police, Mining and Fire departments have to check the quarry and issue required permission. However, quarry owner have been carrying out their operations involving blastings without following all these procedure, with the backing of political leaders.

Four workers died in a blast at a stone quarry near Narsapuragraharam in 2002 and three workers lost their lives at Krishnapuram quarry in Ponduru mandal in 2005 due to illegal use of explosives. On August 26, 2014 Srikakulam rural police seized 137 gelatin sticks, 44 detonators and five bundles of fuse wire from a temple at Singupuram.

In January 2015 police seized explosives and registered cases against five persons and arrested them at Krishnapuram in Ponduru mandal. Following complaints from villagers, Srikakulam Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) B Dayanidhi inspected quarries in Ponduru mandal on May 4 and directed quarry owners not to use explosives indiscriminately without licence.

Meanwhile, Ponduru police arrested one person at Rapaka junction on Chilapalem -Rajam road on Sunday for transporting explosives in an auto-rickshaw without valid licence. The arrested person has been identified as Chitada Ganapathi. He was shifting Rs 1 lakh worth explosives like gun powder, ammonium nitrate, fuse wire, electric and ordinary detonators to Krishnapuram quarry.

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