Pune experts to conduct ‘trial blasts’ near KRS to check impact

• With growing concern over the safety of the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir owing to blasts at stone quarries in its vicinity.

• The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation will examine the ground vibrations to see if it will potentially damage the reservoir.

• Two major quarry blasting signatures (QBS, or tremors caused by quarrying) were found close to the reservoir on September 25, last year, and were recorded at the VSAT Enabled Permanent Seismic Monitoring Stations (PSMS) at the KRS, established by the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC).

Key concerns highlighted by the experts

• This had led to the KSNMDC asking the district administration and other agencies to initiate measures against the occurrence of such QBS.

• Later, the Irrigation Department had requested the ministry to conduct a technical inspection.

• A team of experts from the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS, Pune) of the ministry will conduct “trial blasts” to monitor ground vibrations due to blasts at nearby stone quarries, N. Manjushri, Deputy Commissioner, said.

• According to officials, experts have already conducted 11 days of inspection at various stone quarry units in the vicinity of the reservoir from December 6, 2018.

• There are over 65 stone quarrying units functioning in a 15 to 20 km-radius of KRS and many of them violate safety regulations and conduct illegal/unscientific high-density explosions.

Blasting stone extraction effect

• Blasting during stone extraction results in major ground vibrations and they may also cause damage to the KRS. Hence, the district administration to issue permits to conduct trial blasts.

• A technical report with suggestions will be given to the district administration after the completion of five-day trial blasts and examinations.

• There were demands from local residents to stop stone quarrying near the KRS.

• The blasting at quarries has been banned following the QBS recorded in September.

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Mains Paper 1: Indian Geography

Prelims level: Krishnaraja Sagar Reservoir

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