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Escalating Ecocide in the Kudremukh National Park

came know about the pipe-break only after newspapers carried the report, he added.
Mr. Jayaprakash further stated that it is undoubtedly a serious matter. Even though the KIOCL has stopped production in view of the damage caused to its pipe transporting iron slurry to Mangalore from Kudremukh, the damage done to forest and agriculture should yet to be assessed by the respective departments. According to eye witnesses, the Ennehole stream has turned completely black causing anxiety among the nearby villagers.
The KIOCL has laid a 100 km pipeline to transport iron slurry from Kudremukh mines to Mangalore and there it will be converted into iron pellets for exports in Mangalore. A few days back, the pipeline developed a crack at Kanyalu in Karakala taluk and slurry started flowing to the surrounding areas.
Mr. Jayaprakash maintained that the source of leakage is inaccessible to any vehicles and a long distance needs to be covered by walk. The villagers say that the pipe was leaking in a small measure ever since the rainy season started this year. Had the company acted immediately, the gravity of the problem could have been avoided. Now the slurry is deposited in the fields and the Ennehole stream has been blackened.
Villagers fear disastrous effect on water; agriculture, Deccan Herald, date 6th August, 2000
Even after 20 days, while Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) is yet to repair the point of slurry leakage in its pipeline at Kanyalu near Karkala, the villagers are worried about the possible fallout of the severe pollution of the Yennehole stream caused by this.
While the villagers are anxious of its effect on drinking water, agriculture, forest and fish-life, the government agencies like the Pollution Control Board, dont really seem to bother much about the assessment of the possible damage.
The massive leakage was reported on July 17 from the pipe at Kanyalu in the Naravi forest area and the KIOCL suspended its production and transport of slurry from Kudremukh to Mangalore. The KIOCL has laid an underground pipeline of about 100 kms to transport the slurry.
As admitted by the company itself, the amount of slurry which flowed out of the pipe, could be about 4000 tonnes and the likely loss suffered by the company is to the tune of 50,000 US dollars. These figures themselves prove the gravity of the problem. While the company is speaking about its loss, the government agencies, which should have protected villagers interests, are silent on the possible damage.
Much of the leakage has flown into the Ennehole stream which is visibly polluted for about 20 kms stretch and a part of the leak has spread to the forest. Through small irrigation canals, the slurry has reached the nearby agricultural fields also. The villagers who are dependent on Ennehole stream for drinking water, are now facing untold misery. Going by the charge levelled by Karnataka Vimochana Ranga, the KIOCL personnel themselves declined to consume water from Bhadra river in the past fearing pollution and decided to lift water from Sita river which flows 8 kms away from the Kudremukh company. Ironically, Pollution Control Board maintains the Ennehole pollution will not cause much harm.
On the contrary, the villagers Devappa, Ananda Devadiga, Geetha etc. have a different story. The Ennehole stream has been blackened and it is impossible to drink the river water. The fishes, which were seen earlier, have become invisible after the slurry leakage. They are concerned about the damage to their agricultural crops.
According to Pollution Board officials, a Technical Advisory Team consisting of Prof. Halappa Gowda, Prof. Lahiri and Prof. Manjunath among others, has visited the spot and concluded that the slurry will slowly deposit at the bottom of the stream and hence the water will be fit for drinking. They have also not noticed any fish kill so far.
But many villagers doubt whether Pollution Board officials have really visited the right spot because it is inaccessible to vehicles and care compelled to walk a few kilometres. Even the KIOCL has not been able to correctly locate the point of leakage till now as the pipe is still deep-buried underground. It is a dense forest and labourers are hardly coming forward to work.
However, KIOCL officials claimed that they will complete the repairs within one week. Ironically, they have been saying from the beginning that the time required for them to complete the task is just one week and now three weeks are almost over.
Meanwhile, there are reports about the uselessness of the whole 100 km pipeline which is more than 20 years old.
History repeats itself
It is a history not to be forgotten. Three labourers were killed in 1996 when they were engaged in Kudremukh pipeline related activity almost near the same spot where iron slurry leakage has been reported now. They were virtually buried in the ground due to a land-slide when they were dealing with the pipe. The ill-fated labourers were Muniraj Jain, Sheethal Kumar and Jagadeesh Jain.
Kanyalu village is inside the Naravi forest and there are no roads for vehicles where the actual slurry leakage has occurred. The company is struggling to get manual labourers to trace the actual point. Nearly 20 days have passed and Kudremukh requires still more than a week to repair the pipe, according to company sources only.
KIOCL yet to repair slurry pipeline leak at Kanyal, Indian Express, Date 9th August 2000
The leak of slurry (liquid iron ore) from the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) pipeline at Kanyal village in Karkal taluk has not yet been repaired.
The possibility of the slurry polluting the Ennehole river has caused anxiety to the residents of Kanyal. Drinking water, agricultural lands and fish resources have been the threatened by the leakage, they alleged.
The KIOCL, having identified the leak in the pipeline at Kanyal in the Naravi forest region on July 17 had stopped the production and passage of slurry through the pipeline. It may be recalled that a 100 - km long underground pipeline has been installed by the KIOCL to transport slurry from Kudremukh to Mangalore.
Slurry leak causes incalculable damage, The Hindu, date 7th August 2000
Shimoga, The damage done by the leakage of Iron slurry from the pipeline of the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd (KIOCL) to the Western Ghats seems to be incalculable if the findings of a study team are any indication.
The 12-member study team from the Karnataka Vimochana Ranga (KVR) comprising journalists and social workers recently visited the area where the pipeline leaked to assess the impact on the fragile eco-system of the Western Ghats in the light of permission extended to the KIOCL to mine in the area for one more year.
The team toured the area extensively, and after collecting first-hand information concluded that the damage done to the Ennehole - a tributary of the Souparnika river - which has been highly polluted by the leakage - is a matter of serious concern. The level of pollution in the Ennehole, which is the only source of potable water to the people residing on its banks, is to be seen to be believed. Thick layers of iron slurry floating in the tributary have rendered the water unfit for consumption.
The 97-km long pipeline laid between the work spot at Kudremukh in Chikmagalur District and the port in Mangalore 30 years ago to transport the iron slurry appears to have outlived its utility and become obsolete if the leakages at several points are any indication. The repair of the pipeline does not appear to be a priority on the KIOCLs agenda as it cannot be done effectively considering the poor condition of the pipeline.
Further, frequent landslides in the forest make it difficult to spot the location of the pipelines as in some points it is as deep as eight meters. To get down to the damaged pipeline, the workers will have to a depth of 20 metres. Invariably the repairing work becomes risky. The seriousness of the leakage came to light in 1996 when three temporary coolies engaged by a private contractor for repairing a leak in the pipelines were buried alive in a landslide.
The only solution appears to be to replace the pipeline completely. The question is whether the KIOCL will do so as its mining licence has been extended for a year only. It is stated that the KIOCL can think of repairing the damaged pipeline only if the permission is extended for atleast 20 years.
Mr. S. Sundara, a KVR activist, says that the seriousness of the leakage which was noticed at Kanyalu near Nooralubettu in Karkala taluk can be gauged from the fact that the leakage on a particular day (July 26) was as much as 4,000 tonnes against the transporting capacity of 15,000 tonnes of iron slurry per day. He says that as the pipeline passes through the Kudremukh National Park for a distance of nearly 40 km., it has posed a potential threat to the forest in the park area. He says that its vulnerability to the threat arises from the leakages in the pipeline which he says have polluted the Ennehole.
The level of pollution at Kanyalu is a matter of serious concern as the effluents are carried for a length of 20 km. downstream of the river. Mr. Sundara says that according to the local people the first victims in the river since the leakage in the pipeline started were fish and frogs, which have now become nonexistent. He points out that the Biological Oxide Demand (BOD) and the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) of the river water have come down drastically owing to the pollution which might have caused the fish and frog kill.
He alleges that the callousness of the KIOCL is such that it had not bothered to warn the people about the ferrous contents in the river owing to the leakage. As there is no other source of water, the people in the area have been forced to consume the untreated and polluted water.
Mr. Sundara ridicules the claim made by the KIOCL that it has not caused the pollution of the river. If it is so, then why should it lift the water from the nearby Sita river for consumption of its staff in its colony instead of using the Bhadra waters? he asks. He says that the official iron content in the Bhadra is 0.58 mg. against the normal permitted level of 0.3 mg., which shows the health hazard that the people downstream of the Bhadra are exposed to. He alleges that although the KIOCL has a reserve of Rs. 600 crores to clean the Bhadra it has hardly
taken up the cleaning exercise so far.
Questioning the property of the Government extending the mining lease (mainly out of consideration for nearly 2,500 workers, who would be thrown out of employment otherwise), Mr. Sundara says the KIOCL should have made alternative arrangement to rehabilitate the workers, for it is well known that they were recruited for a specific period of 30 years till the expiry of the lease period.
Mr. Sundara cautions that the further consequences will be disastrous if the Government yields to pressure and extends permission to mine for 20 years. Besides, the KIOCL appears to be no more interested in continuing its operations on its own as its management has reportedly sought disinvestment.
He says that a U.S. based company has been retained by the KIOCL as its consultant, to hurry through the privatisation process. Before embarking on it, he says the KIOCL is trying to acquire new areas such as Gangadikallu and Nellibeedu, for fresh mining and it has been trying to obtain permission to do deep mining in the existing mines. He says that the area, which has been already identified as earthquake prone, will face the threat of frequent earthquakes if deep mining is permitted.
Mr. Kaikuli Vitthal Hegde, an environmentalist who led the study team, says that the KIOCL should consider the one-year extension period as a time to pack off. He warns of a dangerous impact on the Western Ghats if the mining is allowed beyond one year.
Pipeline rupture affects production at Kudremukh plant, Indian Express, dated 16 August, 2000
The pelletisation plant of Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) at Panambur, New Mangalore has not been functioning for the past three weeks, resulting in financial losses amounting to Rs. 1 crore, a day.
According to an official at the KIOCL, the plant with a production capacity of 3 million tonnes per year, was started in 1987. The plant has been producing export quality pellets which were being used in blast furnaces and in the production of direct reduced iron in Japan, Iran and China. The plant was receiving 20,000 to 22,000 tonnes of slurry per day from Kudremukh through the pipeline to Panambur plant where slurry was filtered to produced filter cake.
The plant was exporting 30,000 to 60,000 tonnes pellets and fine power by 10 to 12 shipments, per month and sometimes through bulk carriers. However, all this changed following a rupture of the 67 km-pipeline carrying iron ore slurry, near Mullikar Kenya village in Karkal taluk of Udupi district, forcing