Over a year-and-a-half ago, residents of Mahadevapura, living in apartments located opposite Brigade Metropolis, woke up in the middle of the night to tremors, which shook their doors and windows violently.
A few concerned residents went outside to find what was causing these tremors. They found that explosives were being used to blast rocks at a construction site located in the vicinity.
These residents then filed a complaint on February 2, 2016 at the Mahadevapura Police station, stating that the construction company, Godrej United, was using explosives at the construction site illegally.
“Even after we filed a complaint, an FIR was not registered. We then went to the BBMP ward office located in Mahadevpura and filed a complaint. The police and the BBMP officials then visited the construction site and warned the contractor to stop using the explosives,” said one of the affected residents.
The explosion activity stopped for a few months, and resumed later. This continued for another year and despite repeated complaints to the Palike and the police, the explosions did not stop.
Finally, in March 2017, residents of the area contacted Godrej United. The comma however says that they have permission for blasting rocks.
“We have obtained the no objection certificate from the district administration. There is nothing illegal about what we are doing. We buy the explosives from authorised vendors and this is brought here on a day-to-day basis, so that we don’t have to store it,” said an official from Godrej United, who is associated with the project.
The company also has the NOC granted by the Deputy Commissioner, dated October 29, 2015, granting them permission to use Class 2 explosives.
According to the Explosives Rules of 1983, Class 2 explosives can be used in construction sites with stone beds only after obtaining the NOC from the Deputy Commissioner of the said district.
No public consultation?
“Explosives must be used as a last resort and if found that the stones can be removed only through explosions, then it can be used. However, the district administration must conduct public consultation before issuing the NOC. This is because the affected residents may disagree,” said an explosives expert from the office of the Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Karnataka.
The residents, however, alleged that the district administration had not held any public consultation and had granted the NOC without their knowledge.
“We realised that they were using explosives only after the work started. No one from the DC office contacted us. The district authorities did not inform us of what the consequences would be,” said an affected resident.
The official from Godrej United said that when the construction of the luxury apartments had started, the company had deployed heavy duty drilling machines to break the stone surface.
“It took us almost six months to clear just a few meters of the stone bed. At this rate, the construction would take years to complete. We then approached the district administration and obtained the NOC for using the explosives,” the official added.
The officials from the DC office were not available to comment about why there had been no public consultation.