Stones from Neighbouring Quarry Terrorise Residents

“People are lying about stones hitting their houses. If you ask them to their faces, they will deny they’ve said this. They only want to make some money off the contractors.” So says Neelam Ahlawat, the District Magistrate of Chitrakoot in response to questions about the consequences of quarries in some areas of the district. Residents, meanwhile, wave copies of complaints submitted to everyone from the police to the DM, and dread the day a stone hits one of their children.

Rampur Maafi hamlet, Bharatkup village, Karwi block, Chitrakoot. There is a settlement near Govardhan hill consisting of 150 houses, mostly government-provided, where, due to quarrying on the hillside, stones regularly hit the houses below. These stones have ruined the (thatch) roofs of many houses, and injured many children and cattle in the area. But this is not an issue of much concern, either for the police or mining department.

Rajrani, a woman from the colony, told us, “On the 1st of January, our cattle were tied outside the house. A stone fell on the bull, injuring him and knocked him unconscious.” Kalli, another residence said, “Stones have fallen on our roof many times, so our roof is broken in many places. In this cold weather, this is a big problem. If at any of these times, our children had been sitting below, there could have been a serious accident. We spoke to the contractor of the quarry and he said, just take a hundred rupees and hush up the issue. But we don’t want money, we want safety. Now the contractor threatens us regularly.”

A written complaint was submitted at the Bharatkup police station as well as to the DM on the 6th of January. The clerk at the police station in Bharatkup denied this when questioned, dismissing the copy produced by the KL journalists. The officer in charge of the station, K.P. Singh, said he had no information about this situation, despite the fact that the settlement was no more than 1.25 kilometres away.

Pradip Kumar Singh, district level officer of Mining said that quarrying was taking place in 125 sites. “It is not possible for us to reach all sites, and we don’t have surveyors in our staff, who would be expected to inspect quarries and the areas they are located in.

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