The Opposition in Karnataka on Monday staged a walkout of the Assembly after the Leader of the House and Congress’ Siddaramaiah demanded an investigation into the illegal stone quarrying carried out in Shivamogga district, reported The Hindu.
At least eight workers died on the night of January 21 in a dynamite blast at a railway crusher site. The massive explosion took place near a gravel and boulder crushing facility in Hunasodu village. The victims were reportedly transporting explosives used in mining when the incident occurred. The vehicle was badly mangled and bodies of the workers were dismembered beyond recognition.
The Karnataka government had ordered a high-level investigation into the incident, and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had said that illegal mining will be tackled in the state.
On Monday, Siddaramaiah raised the matter under the House Rule 69 in the Assembly, demanding a complete stop of all illegal mining in Karnataka. He noted that over 2,000 illegal crushing units were functioning in the state, adding that the incident was nothing but “murder”.
The Congress politician also called for a criminal case to be registered against district authorities responsible for the incident. “Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and district in-charge minister KS Eshwarappa are responsible for illegal stone mining in the district and the death of six people in the blast,” he said, according to The Hindu.
After Siddaramaiah raised his demands in the Assembly, state Law and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai informed the House that a detailed mapping of the entry of explosives into the state was ordered after the blast. Responding to the Congress, he asserted that no illegal mining would be allowed to continue in the state.
The home minister admitted that illegal mining was being done in the state for several years under various governments.
Bommai also said that the revenue commissioner will investigate the blast, but the Opposition walked out as their demand for a judicial inquiry was not taken into consideration. The Opposition asked for an inquiry by a judicial commission, led by a sitting High Court judge “for the truth to come out”, reported PTI.
The Opposition also accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the state of suspicious behaviour and claimed that it was trying to protect someone.