Former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy on Tuesday lashed out at the BJP government in the State for its failure to act firmly against illegal quarrying.
Expressing concern over the loss of six lives in a gelatine explosion in Chickballapur early on Tuesday barely a month after a similar blast in Shivamogga, which also claimed six lives, Mr. Kumaraswamy said death of poor labourers will continue if the government does not take firm measures against illegal quarrying, which had witnessed a spurt ever since shortage of river sand arose for construction activities.
He alleged that people’s representatives were also playing a large role in illegal quarrying and alleged that a nexus existed between elected representatives and officials, who were promoting these illegal activities for the sake of amassing wealth. Even officials bring pressure on the politicians and seek plum postings in the mining department for the sake of making money, Mr. Kumaraswamy alleged.
Though several small mishaps due to illegal quarrying keep taking place, it is hushed up by the local officials. “Only when deaths take place, the government comes forward, announces compensation to the deceased and promises to take strict action,” he said.
He referred to reports attributed to a Minister in the B S Yediyurappa Government, who claimed that the illegal quarrying spot had been visited by the officials last week and the blast had taken place when the explosives were being shifted to a different place. “Why did you give them time for a week. Couldn’t immediate action be taken?”, Mr Kumaraswamy questioned before alleging that official machinery was being misused to protect the guilty.