Mining in the hills

Shekar Dattatri

Quarrying for stone and granite (mostly illegal) is a typical sight in many hilly areas and cause disastrous and irreversible changes to natural habitats. Those engaged in illegal mining are typically businessmen who operate with the tacit support of certain corrupt elements in local village offices, the police and the mining and geology department. They hire migrant labourers and use unlawfully procured explosives to blast rock formations in ecologically sensitive areas without government permission. The racketeers use politically influential goondas to threaten residents who protest against the pollution caused by exploitative granite mining. Persistent blasting weakens the foundation of houses in the vicinity of the illegal quarries, chases away migratory birds from their traditional paths, and causes air and sound pollution as well as the depletion of precious ground water.

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