Ramappa faces threat from open cast mining project

Deccan Chronicle.  | Anudeep Ceremilla

Nation, Current Affairs

Mining for coal with frequent blasting would disturb the temple's foundation built by sandbox technology

Ramappa Temple in Palampet of Mulugu district. (Photo:DC)

WARANGAL: The Ramappa temple, recognised earlier this week as a world heritage site by Unesco, faces an existential threat from the proposed open cast mining project proposed to be taken up by the Singareni Collieries some 6km away.

Mining for coal with frequent blasting would disturb the temple's foundation built by sandbox technology, which remained intact for hundreds of years. Notably, the Telangana High Court has passed orders to the Centre and the state government on Wednesday to conserve this structure.

Singareni is taking up a mining project for the first time in the Venkatapur mandal of Mulugu district. Some 315 hectares of forest land and 1,483 hectares of agricultural and assigned lands are being acquired. Singareni intends to produce 40.43 million tonnes of coal over a period of 19 years. The project is scheduled to begin by the end of this year.

Singareni and revenue department officials have started land acquisition. They are surveying the lands of farmers belonging to Venkatapur and Ellareddypalli villages. However, the locals are worried as the historic temple is not far from the opencast site.

The Ramappa temple protection committee is opposing the project and is urging the state to abandon it. The committee’s chairman V.M. Rao said, "The vibrations caused by the blasting may disturb the foundation of the temple. An area to an extent of 15 km should be notified as a special buffer zone and such blastings should not be allowed here. The state must forgo some profits to protect this temple."

Similar objections were raised in 2011 when it was proposed to dig a tunnel to divert water from the Devadula project from Bhimghanpuram in Bhupalpally district to Ramappa. Archaeological Survey of India officials too opposed the tunnel works, saying the Ramappa temple would be endangered. As a result, the works were stopped and water from Devadula is being diverted via a new pipeline.

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