A new video that emerged shows a tanker pouring copious amounts of water to wash away quarry dust.

Illegal miners waste thousands of litres of water to cover tracks in Blurus Bannerghatta ParkVideo screen grab
news Environment Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 13:05

Even as environmental activists in Bengaluru recently celebrated their first win against illegal quarrying in the Bannerghatta Biological Park with Kushal Stone Crushers promising to exit the area, it appears that the end is still nowhere in sight.

However, turns out, that miners are still quarrying in the area, only that are using fraudulent means to hide what they are doing.

A video uploaded recently by noted environmentalist Vijay Nishanth shows a truck sprinkling copious amounts of water along a 4-km stretch of road in an attempt to wash away quarry dust.

“Four to five tankers of water are wasted every day just by pouring water on this road, and that too during the summer. They do this twice a day, in the morning and evening. We have put everything in the public domain because people need to know this,” Nishanth told TNM. He angrily added that the Pollution Board “has no idea what is happening” and that no action has been taken against the perpetrators.

Popularly known as ‘Bengaluru’s Tree Doctor’, Nishanth has been actively campaigning against illegal quarrying in the eco-sensitive zone near the park. He recently launched a campaign inviting citizens to send 30-second audio recordings, expressing their concern against illegal quarrying in the Bannerghatta Biological Park area.

The Indian Institute of Science too has warned of a possible rise in man-animal conflict, as a result of mining in the area, according to a report in the Deccan Chronicle.

The Karnataka High Court, in 1998, ordered the State government to shift all crushing units to safe zones. An appeal to the Supreme Court by the state government in 2011 seeking to change this yielded no results. The same year, the Karnataka Regulation of Stone Crushers Ordinance dictated that these safe zones had to be not less than 2-km away from national highways, temples, schools, rivers, and animal habitats, and at least 1-km away from any inhabited village or cultivable private land.

Under the Siddaramaiah-led government in 2013, the law was amended, reducing the distance of safe zones from national highways to 2 km and from link roads to a 100 m from a 500 m requirement earlier. Nishanth alleges that the government provided no justification for doing so.

Nishanth and his organisation, Project Vruskha, have written to Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, informing him of the gravity of the situation. The minister has reportedly promised to look into the matter and take necessary action.

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