Farmers around Bangalore excavate soil for builders
An ecological imbalance is brewing in Bangalore district because farmers, who have hit upon desperate times, are seeking desperate measures. Driven by drought, farmers here have taken to digging, washing and sieving the topsoil of their farms for sand. They sell it to the ever-growing construction industry which is unable to meet its demand from riverbed sand alone. Farmers have thus hit upon a cash crop, but at what cost.
During the past three to four years villages around Bangalore have been excavating surface soils from tank beds, agricultural fields and common lands to produce a kind of artificial sand to supply nearly 4000 truckloads everyday to construction projects in the metropolis. Around 25 per cent of the sand required is extracted from agricultural fields and village tank beds; the remaining 75 per cent is mined from riverbeds.
There is 10-50 per cent loss of productivity of the soils that could take 8-10 years to get revived, stated a study. Titled "Sand Extraction from Agricultural Fields around Bangalore Ecological Disaster or Economic Boon", the paper was written by Rajendra Hegde, S C Ramesh Kumar, K S Anil Kumar, S Srinivas, and V Ramamurthy from the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Bangalore. It was published in Current Science (25 July 2008).
Just a little away from Bangalore's swanky new airport, in Karahalli and Mayasandra villages the ragi and coconut cultivation lands are interspersed with deep cavities. These cater like pits serve as filtration units in Devanhalli, Chikkbalapur, Ramnagaram and Kolar taluks of Bangalore district. Rectangular pits are dug out with a slight slant where the washed waste is let out. They are set up near bore wells. Surface soils are excavated and spread on the extraction pit. Two to three rounds of washing is done to extract the sand.
|A filtration unit using groundwater|
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