Return of granite mining threatens Karnataka
The Karnataka government recently signalled its intention to renew granite quarrying licences in the Malai Madeshwara hills in Chamarajnagar district. Quarrying was banned in 1992, when the area was under the sway of Veerappan. But with the sandalwood smuggler out of its way, the state government believes that resumption of quarrying will generate employment for the area's people and also bring revenues to its coffers. It's a familiar argument. Unfortunately it's also a very unsound one. Going by past experience, granite quarrying means bad news not just for livelihoods of the local residents but also for the biodiverse Malai Madeshwara hills.
Spread over 435 sq km, the hills have a mixture of scrub, dry deciduous, moist deciduous and evergreen forests, which are home to a variety to mammals including the tiger, leopard, elephant, sambar and the barking deer. Around 3,200 families