Shivamogga quarry blast: Govt. says ‘no’ to probe by HC judge


The State government on Tuesday refused to budge, while the Opposition demanded a probe by a High Court judge into the recent Shivamogga quarry blast that killed six. The Opposition Congress staged a walkout over the issue in the Legislative Council.

Replying to a debate under Rule 68, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said there would not be any change in the government’s stand and argued that a judicial inquiry would not do justice. “There is a criminal offence which needs to be investigated, not inquired into,” he argued.

The government has now instituted a probe into the accident and misuse of explosives by an officer of Additional Director- General of Police (ADGP) rank, which had already made progress. “The source of the explosive has been identified, the dealer booked and a large cache of explosives seized in Anantapur [Andhra Pradesh],” Mr. Bommai said. Meanwhile, a separate probe by the Revenue Secretary has been instituted into the alleged violations of law with respect to mining.

Leader of the Opposition in the Council S.R. Patil said the case had acquired an inter-State dimension and the fact that the incident occurred in the Chief Minister’s home district, meant only a judicial probe would bring out the truth.

R.B. Timmapur (Congress) and Maritibbe Gowda (JD-S) came down heavily on the government for not fixing responsibility on the officers and taking action against them.

Mr. Bommai and Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani pointed out that the coalition government granted licence in March 2019 for the crusher where the accident occurred despite two cases against the firm over illegal use of explosives and blamed the Congress for the accident, leading to commotion in the Council.

“If I point fingers at you, I also know I am pointing fingers at myself too,” Mr. Bommai said, adding that the government had treated the incident as a wakeup call. The Congress then staged a walkout.

Mr. Yediyurappa, in the Assembly, said he had asked the Deputy Commissioners to not stop legal quarrying. “Wherever it is permissible, as per law, I have asked officers to regularise quarrying,” he added.

Mining university

Mr. Nirani said there was a plan to start a mining university on the lines of the one in Dhanbad, Jharkhand.

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