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Mandya MP raises concern over safety of KRS dam due to illegal mining

Bengaluru: Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh on Wednesday said that her concerns for the safety of Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS) dam, one of the biggest in the country, remains as officials are yet to clarify on the damage done to the structure due to illegal mining activities
PUBLISHED ON JUL 15, 2021 01:03 AM IST

Bengaluru: Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh on Wednesday said that her concerns for the safety of Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS) dam, one of the biggest in the country, remains as officials are yet to clarify on the damage done to the structure due to illegal mining activities.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with officials and locals in the district, she said that the threat of the cracks getting bigger looms large over an entire region that are directly in harm’s way. “My concerns remain because I have got no clear answers,” Sumaltha, the lone independent MP from Karnataka said.

She said that the “struggle” to protect KRS will become a movement as she appealed for the support of all those with the concern, moral conscience and social responsibility to join her in the fight against the harm being done to the dam.

The dam is built on the river Cauvery, one of the most important sources of life in southern Karnataka and its capital, Bengaluru. It is also the main source of irrigation for several districts in the state.

Sumalatha said that there were several cracks, voids or cavities in the dam which have been fixed using a method called grouting.

She, however, said that the cracks may become dangerous in a few years and there was nothing wrong in getting competent authorities to ascertain the damage on the heritage structure and crackdown on alleged illegal mining in the vicinity.

The MP had raised the issue of blasting around the KRS dam and Baby Betta (or Baby mountain) in the Parliament in 2019.

Her allegations of illegal mining led to an ugly spat between her and the Janata Dal (Secular) of JD(S) leaders including former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy in which the latter got extremely personal.

The issue of KRS and the alleged illegal mining in a district where all the legislators are from the JD(S) had revived their spat.

“The first thing is all mining activity becomes illegal since most of those who have licences do not follow the provisions and often violate them,” Yashwant, a farmer and member of the Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha said.

He added that even though all senior ministers, mining department and other agencies have stated that there is no harm to the dam due to mining activities there is always going to be a danger to the structure.

The 3km-long dam is also the first irrigation dam in India and was built during the rule of the Krishna Raja Wodeyar in 1932 under the leadership of Sir M Vishweshwaraiah. The dam is about 130 feet in height, has 152 sluice gates and is a total length of 2621 meters. The reservoir is about 130 square kms, which when built, was the largest in entire Asia.

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