Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday said that the mining activity in Shivamogga’s Hunasodu village, where the explosive-laden truck exploded killing at least six people, was being carried out illegally. CM Yediyurappa was speaking to Kannada channel TV9 and said that he would visit the site of the blast on Saturday to take stock of the situation. A truck carrying explosives meant for blasting stones at the quarry exploded on Thursday night at around 10 pm, killing six people. Yediyurappa announced that compensation of Rs 5 lakh would be given to the families of the victims.
A bomb disposal squad and mineral detection teams from Bengaluru and Mangaluru cities are currently combing the site of the blast for evidence.
"We have come to know that illegal mining activities were taking place. Action will be taken against those responsible for the incident and also if we find that officials were negligent. There are allegations that some officials knew about the illegal mining but did not take action. If this is true, action will be taken against everyone involved in wrongdoing. My government will also look into stopping the illegal mining activities across the state. I will go to Shivamogga tomorrow (Saturday) and conduct an inspection myself," CM BS Yediyurappa said.
The Shivamogga police have arrested two persons in connection with the incident. Sanjeev Kumar, Shivamogga Rural Police Inspector said that the owner of the land, Avinash Kulkarni, is absconding. He said that Avinash had procured the lease for mining for five years and had hired Narasimha and Sudhakar, the contractors, to conduct the mining operations.
Shivamogga police, which is investigating the case, said that as per the Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession Rules, the mining activity must be carried out by contractors who have the license to use explosives. “Avinash had sub-leased the land to Narasimha and Sudhakar. We have reason to believe that Narasimha and Sudhakar (two arrested persons) did not have necessary permissions to carry out the mining operations and did not have the license to procure explosives,” the investigating officer said, while adding that they are investigating where the illegal explosives were procured from.
The investigators said that they are in the process of questioning both the owner of the stone crushing company Sudhakar and his business partner Narasimha regarding the illegal mining activities.