More than 100 granite factories and 10 quarries located in Jigani industrial area in Bannerghatta adversely affects the health of residents in five villages in the surrounding areas.
Around ten thousand people are living in the villages of Kallabalu, Mahanthalingapura, Krishna doddi, Poojigana Palya, Ellammana doddi and in Bellar Bande suffer from respiratory disorders and other allergies due to dust from these granite factories.
"The granite factories are located in Jigani industrial area and the quarries are near to these villages and Bannerghatta National Park because of which dust rises throughout the day," says Krishnappa, Panchayat secretary, Mahanthalingapura.
Mahanthalingapura government hospital cannot keep its doors open because of huge amount of dust in the air, according to Shakunthala G, Assistant Medical Officer.
"So many villagers are suffering from bronchitis, tuberculosis, cough, allergy and other skin diseases due to inhalation of air polluted with dust," says Shakunthala.
M V Shashirekha, former researcher (water), Mines and Geology department says, "when rocks and granite are polished or crushed, it releases fumes. These fumes contain calcium fluoride which affects lungs very badly."
Residents are also fearful of house collapse because of the tremors generated by quarrying.
"Our houses shake when the quarries start blasting. We are even fearful to sit inside our houses. All the houses in our village have cracks due to the powerful blasting. There are instances where stones from the quarries fall like rain when the blasting takes place," says Geetha M, resident, Kallubalu village.
Krishnappa says that they had sent a request to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board two months ago but no action has been taken yet." However Mahesh T, Environmental Officer, KSPCB says that the Board had shut down the factories but High Court permitted them to resume work. The quarrying and allied activities are supposed to be carried out in "safe zone", that is a place where there are "no forests and no habitation." But in Karnataka the safe zones have not yet been identified, Mahesh adds.
This was also the reason why High Court allowed the factories in the current location. The Court said that the factories cannot be asked to move unless a safe zone is identified.
This article comes to Citizen Matters as part of an arrangement with Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media – IIJNM. Versions of this article originally appeared in The Oberver and http://thesoftcopy.in/