As KGF Chapter 2 movie frenzy, dig deep into Kolar Mines’ golden previous and alternatives

When one thinks of gold mines, we rapidly ponder photos of miners strolling round with deep darkish labyrinths, the sounds of incessant drilling, security vests and flashlights hooked up to their heads with chunks of “black gold” of their fingers. be part of collectively. Effectively! That is often the view on the Kolar Gold Fields, India’s oldest and richest gold mine, which after greater than 120 years of exploitation by the British is mendacity unusable in the present day.

Because the frenzy for the film KGF Chapter 2 grows, the as soon as actual story of “Metropolis of Gold” will contact your coronary heart.

“I’ve seen gold glitter!” 82-year-old Muruganathan Ok mentioned excitedly and flashed a toothy smile. However one may see the smile disappear from this former miner’s delicate wanting face – similar to the gold deposits from KGFs.

“I bear in mind the times after we used to take a seat exterior our homes and use sieves to separate small pellets of gold from a combination of clay and cyanide. It’s true, we’ll discover one thing, however now it’s all gone with our hopes and households,” mentioned a former worker of Bharat Gold Mines Restricted (BGML), an organization concerned in gold mining in KGF.

“There’s a big distinction between truth and fiction. It’s true that KGF has misplaced its sheen in the present day, it is usually true that movie KGF is fictional.”

The British started mining gold within the KGF within the late 1800s, nevertheless it was dropped at a grinding halt in 2001 after the state authorities discovered it impractical to run operations on the present produce.

a wealth of alternatives

After the closure of the mine, 1000’s of households employed within the KGF mines had been rendered jobless, forcing them to hunt employment 100 km away within the metropolis of Bengaluru. Even in the present day, a particular prepare service from Bengaluru to Marikuppam in KGF carries about 30,000 folks every day between the 2 cities.

The individuals who work at KGF carry a way of nice satisfaction, bear in mind the ‘golden days’ and hope that the long run can convey again their misplaced luster.

In response to the Ministry of Mines information, India’s present gold reserves complete 70.1 tonnes, and Karnataka accounts for about 88% of those gold reserves, Andhra Pradesh has about 12% and Jharkhand has a negligible quantity. The British authorities discovered gold deposits within the 80 km lengthy Kolar schist belt stretching from Kuppam to Srinivasapura.

“It grew to become tough to excavate and the price of excavation exceeded the worth of gold mining. The gold deposits had been about 1.5 km deep. The BGML shut down as a consequence of heavy losses, leaving 1000’s jobless,” defined Das Chinnasavari, convener of the KGF Civil Protection Discussion board.

Gold deposits at Kolar in Karnataka are mentioned to have been first found by the Cholas of South India, it was the British who elevated the yield with their trendy equipment.

By 1850, the KGF was at its peak and one of many deepest mines on this planet, and was thought of the biggest producer of gold within the nation.

(Photograph: Bharat Gold Mines Restricted Archive)

The report mentioned that the KGF mines have been drilled to a depth of three.24 km, with tunnels reaching as much as 1,400 km. Organized mining started in 1880 by John Taylor & Sons and the British authorities struck gold within the 80 km lengthy Kolar schist belt which extends from Kuppam to Srinivasapura.

Ok Anbazhagan, a former commerce union chief of BGML, identified how the Geological Survey of India and the obtainable studies with previous British data present that solely 8 km of gold deposits had been mined until date.

“There are over 72 km of gold reserves that are but to be tapped. KGF has produced round 800 tonnes of gold in 120 years. That is the quantity that has been calculated. However greater than 3,000 tonnes of unaccounted gold has been taken away,” he mentioned.

digging into the previous

KGF’s mines could look dreary, dilapidated and rusty, however this small city was as soon as the satisfaction of the British Empire – a deep treasure that gave them monumental quantities of gold to take again to England.

“It’s essential to see some very previous pictures the place British officers and even the Viceroy have been photographed holding gold bars of their fingers. KGF was actually a jewel within the crown. It’s unhappy that they (British) looted our motherland and took away our treasure. We had been helpless,” mentioned Peter Raphael, who takes satisfaction in calling himself “Golden Peter”, after his household labored within the mines.

For the British, the KGF mines had been a ‘golden egg-laying hen’, however for the locals it was a supply of employment.

Recalling the tales advised to them by their mother and father and grandparents, the native residents speak about how the place was effectively developed with high-end faculties, golf equipment and leisure services comparable to a ship membership and golf course.

Whereas the membership was restricted to European residents, the BGML hospital was the primary hospital to be electrified and had its personal X-ray unit. Based in 1880 by the O’Donnell brothers, medical services had been free for all miners and their households.

Apparently, KGF was the primary metropolis in Asia to be electrified earlier than Bengaluru, with energy era at Shivanasamudra Hydro-Electrical Station.

Some essential locations in KGF got British title or named after British officers. For instance, the principle mining areas the place the KGF was positioned had been known as Champion Reef, Orgam, Nandidurg, Balaghat, Coromandel, Mysore Gold, Tank Block and 9 Reefs Mines.

“The locations had been named after British officers like Boringpet (modern-day Bangarapet), Andersonpet and my birthplace Robertsonpet. Bangara in Kannada means gold. KGF is as soon as once more well-liked in the present day due to the movie. However let’s be well-known. Don’t overlook Bangarpet Chaat,” joked Satyamurthy, who had shifted to Bengaluru in 1998 due to his educating job.

Satyamurthy narrates how his household initially got here from Tamil Nadu as many locals had been in concern and due to this fact refused to work within the mines. A number of households from Andhra Pradesh additionally arrived right here slightly over a century in the past. With many British officers, staff and their households settled within the KGF, this quaint small city quickly grew to become referred to as “Mini England”.

“There have been events, balls and cricket matches. KGF will at all times be part of British-India historical past. Many households listed below are Anglo-Indians and plenty of of our seniors have chapters and chapters of tales to inform,” he mentioned.

‘Unhealthy’ KGF

In contrast to the reel life proven within the KGF-Chapter 2 film, individuals who dwell within the subject face many actual life issues. After the mines had been closed, the effluents had been dumped forming big mounds of cyanide and silica, recognized regionally because the ‘Cyanide Mountains’. There are 13 such mounds, which rise to a top of 40 meters, posing a serious well being hazard within the area.

These effluents haven’t solely contaminated the water desk in a spot that’s already going through severe ingesting water issues, many individuals undergo from respiratory illnesses comparable to bronchial asthma, wheezing, silicosis and tuberculosis, which These are as a result of high-quality mud from the dumps.

(Photo: Bharat Gold Mines Limited)
(Photograph: Bharat Gold Mines Restricted)

Silver Lining

After a long time of gloom, there’s a ray of hope in KGF. In 2021, the central authorities gave a inexperienced sign to construct a 3,500-acre mega industrial park at KGF. It will enhance the prospects of Kolar district, of which KGF is a component.

Karnataka Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani advised News18 that the survey has been carried out for the proposed industrial township.

“KGF is on the Chennai-Bengaluru industrial hall and it is going to be very useful for giant industries who wish to arrange a store there,” he mentioned.

“The cupboard has already authorized it. We do not see work being carried out on the bottom but. We’ve got waited for years, hope KGF will prosper with this transfer of the state authorities,” mentioned G Jayakumar, worker, supervisor and govt coordinator of United Discussion board of Bharat Gold Mines Restricted, one other group representing folks affected by the KGF bandh. advised News18.

“I work as a safety guard for a gated property in Digital Metropolis. I journey by prepare every day from KGF. I’ve to get up at 3 am to go to work and are available again by 9 pm I spent round Rs.200 a day touring. With my low wage, I handle my mom and sister. If the federal government fulfills its promise of constructing an industrial park right here, youth like us shall be significantly benefited. ,” mentioned Patrick Abel, whose grandfather labored within the mines throughout the British interval.

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