6 dead in quarry blast, Opposition alleges corruption

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on February 23, 2021

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Karnataka is in the dock due to second blasts at a granite quarry in less than a month.

Six people were dead in a blast at a quarry in Hirenagaveli village (Chikkaballapur district) in the wee hours of Tuesday, similar to that of a blast that claimed six lives last month in Shivamogga.

Police said after the local people complained about reckless blasts at the quarries, owners were warned over it. Fearing a raid on the premises, owners asked the employees to hide or dispose of the explosives. The blast occurred when workers were unloading the explosives killing all the six people and injuring the goods vehicle driver.

On hearing the news, Home Ministers Basavaraj Bommai, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar, in-charge of the district, Deputy Commissioner, SP and department officials inspected the spot and assessed the situation.

The Home Minister after visiting the spot ordered a CID inquiry into the quarry blast. A case has been registered at Gudibande police station and so far two persons have been held in connection with the blast.

Oppn crys foul

As both the blastsoccurred in quarries, allegedly owned by BJP leaders, the opposition Congress and JDS alleged that the government is giving patronage to illegal quarrying in the State and has turned a blind eye to rampant corruption and favouring illegal quarrying.

State Congress president DK Shivakuamr said, “Blast in the quarry occurred due to the irresponsible government.” While Opposition leader in the State Assembly, Siddaramaiah visited the blast site.

Reacting to the ghastly incident, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said the government irrespective of the party affiliation, action will be taken against the corrupt. He further said, “Senior officials have been instructed to conduct a thorough probe and take stern action against the culprits.”

“This is the second such incident and these are illegal in nature. We are discussing what we need to do so such incidents don;t occur in future,” he added.

Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani, assuring action against the culprits, said that the Government will conduct a thorough probe and take action against the culprits responsible for the blast. “I have learnt from the officials that the explosives were stored similar to the Shivamogga incident. The culprits will not be spared no matter how much influence they wield.”

Nirani further reiterated the importance of training skilled workers and creation of a mining school to avoid such tragedies.

As Opposition parties mounted pressure on the government, Dr K Sudhakar, hit out at the Opposition leaders, saying, “Blast took place while they were trying to shift the illegally stored gelatin fearing the raid from officials. Public representatives being in a responsible position should get the facts right before they speak on such sensitive issues.”

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Published on February 23, 2021
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