Mining hits groundwater level in Chitradurga

Mining hits groundwater level in drought-prone Chitradurga

The memorial of former chief minister late S Nijalingappa at Seebara, on the outskirts of Chitradurga, has developed cracks due to unabated mining activities. Credit: DH Photo

Every day, students enter classrooms with fear writ large on their faces as they do not know when the roof of the school buildings would collapse or stones might come and hit windows during the class hours due to blasting that has been taking place in stone quarries near Agasarahalli, Mathada Kurubarahatti and Seebara on the outskirts of the city for the past several years.

As per the norms, there should not be any building within a 200-metre radius of stone quarries. Though these buildings are?located outside the 200-metre radius, the impact of blasting has been causing damage to the houses, schools, religious mutts and former chief minister the late S Nijalingappa’s memorial. Besides, geologists have stated that unscientific mining activities in a drought-prone region, like Chitradurga, would not only worsen groundwater level but also harm water?quality.

Speaking to DH, hydrogeologist N J Devaraj Reddy said Chitradurga is a hard rock terrain region. “Aquifers are there in the form of pockets. Soil and weathered zone are very thin. The groundwater level is poor in the region and one cannot sink borewells to more than 400 to 500 feet due to the presence of hard rock inside the earth. The mining activities have worsened groundwater level. Groundwater recharge possibility is almost nill here as it is one of the driest places in the state. Besides, it would harm groundwater quality,” he added.

“We find brackish water in borewells in villages such as Medehalli, Pillekaranahalli, Basaveshwaranagar as they are close to stone quarries. Similarly, reddish water is found in borewells in Bheemsamudra where iron and manganese ore mining activities are being operated,” he said

Bhovi Gurupeetha seer Immadi Siddarameshwara Swami said that groundwater level has worsened in the region known for drought due to uncontrolled mining activities. Earlier, water was available after sinking borewells at 150 foot. Now, water has become elusive in most parts of the city and it is not found even after drilling bore-wells up to 1,000 foot, he added.

The memorial of former chief minister S Nijalingappa, which has been constructed on a four-acre land at Seebara on the outskirts of the city, has continued to develop cracks as three quarries are still being operated around the memorial within five km radius.?

S Nijalingappa Memorial Trustee Shanmukhappa S said the memorial must be declared as a national monument to protect it from mining activities. The officials must take steps to reduce the intensity of the blast to prevent further damage to the memorial or relocate stone quarries to far-off places. “The structure vibrated when boulders are blasted and it has developed cracks,” he complained.

Seven religious institutions are in the region - Sevalal, Medara Ketaiah, Chalavadi Samsthan, Madiwala Samsthan, Madara Chennaiah Peetha, Bhovi Samsthan and Yoga Vana Betta within five km radius of the mining sites. The heads of these religious mutts have urged the officials concerned to direct miners to relocate them to far-off places at the earliest.

Chalavadi Mahasamthsan Seer Basava Nagideva said the construction activities have come to a standstill due to the mining activities as the newly constructed buildings are also developing cracks. So, they must be relocated to far-off places, he said.

District mines?and?geology officer B M Lingaraju admitted that the buildings outside the radius of 200 metres of mining sites have developed cracks. He said he would direct the owners of quarries to take steps to ensure that the buildings near the sites are not damaged in any way.

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