The Karnataka government has ordered the Revenue Commissioner to investigate the dynamite blast at Shivamogga on 21 January that left six persons dead. The announcement was made by state Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai following which Congress netas led by Leader of Opposition Siddaramiah staged a walkout from the Assembly. Upset over CM Yediyurappa-led government's decision, the Congress leaders staged a walkout alleging suspicion behind BJP's actions. Siddaramiah & Congress' act came amid HM Bommai admitting to illegal mining taking place in the state and stressing on the government's resolve to put an end to such illegal activities in the state.
Congress leader and former CM Siddaramiah hit out at the BJP for being adamant and remarked that their stance was reflected in their actions. Further, he alleged suspicion behind the state government's decision of letting the Revenue Commissioner probe the blast and cited the same as the reason for the Opposition to stage a walkout. Siddaramaih also repeated his demand for a probe led by an HC judge to investigate the case as HM Bommai made the announcement on the floor of the Assembly. The Congress leader also wanted the accused in the case to be charged under IPC 302 (for murder) instead of IPC 304 (culpable homicide).
Admitting the rampant illegal mining in quarries across the state, HM Basavaraj Bommai remarked that jail terms and fine amounts had to be increased in order to curb the menace. He also pointed out that licenses were granted for crushing in Shivamogga despite the officials being aware that illegal mining was taking place and noted that cases had been lodged against them in the aftermath of the blast. Bommai said that the government had taken the case seriously and that the transportation and storage of large quantities of explosives were worrisome.
As many as six people were killed in a dynamite blast at a stone mining quarry in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district, said district collector (DC) KB Shivakumar on Jan 21. The blast took place near a gravel and boulder crushing facility around 10.30 pm on that night, leading to shockwaves not only in Shivamogga but also in nearby districts like Chikkamagaluru and Davangere. Some window panes were also shattered in several houses due to the magnitude of the blast, as per eye-witnesses. The next morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his condolences to the victims of the blast and assured that the Karnataka government is doing everything possible to assist the affected people.
Speaking to reporters later, the Karnataka CM noted that such incidents were bound to occur while mining was done illegally and that illegal mining will not be allowed any further. Yediyurappa also said that he had directed deputy commissioners to take strict action against illegal mining and such activities to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. CM Yediyurappa also revealed that he was headed to Shivamogga for a spot inspection and that he would learn of further details about the accident then. Earlier, the CM had ordered a high-level probe into the explosion and Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia was announced for the kin of the deceased.