Quarrying was stopped in Hirenagavalli by the police on 7 February following complaints from the locals against the rampant use of gelatin sticks. However, the workers clandestinely continued following which another raid was carried out a few days ago and the contractor was warned not to use gelatin anymore.
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar, who represents the Chikkaballapur constituency visited the spot and said the bodies of the victims were badly mutilated. He said stringent action would be taken against the owners of the mines, who had stored the explosives illegally.
Meanwhile, CM Yediyurappa called the incident "shocking" and has ordered a strict investigation. "The death of six people near Hirenagavalli village, Chikkaballapur, due to a gelatin blast is shocking. District in-charge minister and senior officials have been instructed to conduct a thorough probe and take stern action against the culprits," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered his condolences after the incident. "Pained by the loss of lives due to a mishap at Chikkaballapur in Karnataka. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover quickly," the PM wrote on Twitter.
After the explosion at a stone quarry near Shivamogga, Yediyurappa had said illegal quarrying or mining will not be permitted in the state and necessary action will be taken against such activities.
"I'm going for a spot inspection. Our Deputy Commissioner (of the district), Member of Parliament and Mines Minister have already visited the spot. I will get to know things from them and take necessary action to stop illegal quarrying or mining," said the CM.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said the reason for the blast, who permitted the transportation of explosive substance in a lorry and what led to the incident will be investigated comprehensively, and necessary action will be taken against those responsible.
"I will not allow illegal quarrying or mining for any reason. Those who want to do quarrying or mining should get a licence for it. Doing it illegally will lead to such incidents. I will direct Deputy Commissioners to take strict measures in this direction," he added.