Three months after one of India’s worst ever air disasters, Mangalore airport is in focus again. It may be the site of another mishap, if rampant mining under the runway isn’t stopped..." />
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Sunday, May 26
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Rampant mining threatens Mangalore airport

Rampant mining threatens Mangalore airport


Deepa Balakrishnan, IBN-live

Bangalore, September 27: Three months after one of India’s worst ever air disasters, Mangalore airport is in focus again. It may be the site of another mishap, if rampant mining under the runway isn’t stopped immediately.

 

Laterite rocks are being mined right under the Mangalore’s famed tabletop airport which is housed on a hillock. Laterite maintains soil stability. There’s a huge demand for the material as it is used widely in construction.

 

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Leo SaldanaLeo Saldanha, Coordinator, Environment Support Group, says: "If laterite rocks are removed at the wrong place it could lead to landslides and potentially destabilise the airport itself. Secondly, lot of explosives are used, so it disturbs the neighbourhood. It means more bird activity. The fact that it’s a table top airport means birds can rise from anywhere around the valley and explosion can threaten aircraft with bird hits."


Mangalore saw one of India’s worst air crashes three months back when an aircraft overshot the runway killing 158 people. The question being raised is, whether mining just 200 feet under this hillock is asking for another disaster.


The Deputy Commissioner of Mangalore V Ponnuraj admits quarrying is being done near Mangalore and has been objected by DGCA. But he says the DGCA has not yet formally written a letter to them.


When CNN-IBN tried to contact environmentalists in Mangalore, many of them refused to come on camera as they said they felt too threatened. And, politicians who fly in and out of this airport everyday are obviously turning a blind eye.


State Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said, "I have no idea. I’ll find out."


The Bangalore-based environment support group plans to send a fact-finding team to do a thorough probe into the extent of mining and its impact soon.

Deepa Balakrishnan, IBN-live


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