[The Star] Residents demand end to rock blasting

21 10 2008

~ By CHARLES FERNANDEZ


Damaged: One of the many houses damaged by flying rocks in Bandar Damai Perdana.

TENSION prevailed as hundreds of residents in Taman Damai Perdana (TDP), Balakong, took to the streets in a silent protest to demand an end to rock blasting in the area.

The protest in front of developer Medan Damai Sdn Bhd’s office on Sunday morning reflected their mounting frustrations as authorities had failed to act on their complaints since 2002.

The blasting activities, which take place 500m from their houses, are carried out by Mahaquarry Sdn Bhd.

Both Mahaquarry and Medan Damai Sdn Bhd are subsidiaries of holding company Mahajaya Berhad.

TDP spokesperson Stanley Chan said the blasting had gone too far and conducted with scant regard for the welfare and safety of residents.
 
He said that residents had approached the company to cease operations to no avail.

It is learnt that Mahaquarry’s licence had expired in July but the blasting was still being conducted twice a week.
During a blasting session in August, rocks were sent flying to homes nearby, causing severe damage to property.

“The developers had promised to undertake repairs to the damaged homes and carry out controlled blasting. But, the homes have not been repaired while the blasting has intensified,” said Chan.

According to Chan, although the residents had written to Kajang Municipal Council, Department of Environment and other relevant authorities, the blasting is still being carried out.

“Residents are not informed of the blasting schedules. We know only when a warning siren is sounded before a blast. It is deafening, and dust from the quarry pollutes the air,” Chan added.

All that the residents demand, said Chan, was a permanent solution to the problem.

Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, who visited the site, said she would raise the matter with the relevant agencies.

“We will ask the agencies to issue a written statement to the effect that the rock blasting will end immediately on a permanent basis, and no licence or permit will be granted to the company,” she added.

Mahajaya Berhad would be asked to repair any cracks on houses developed as a consequence of the blasting.

Teo said the residents had also asked Mahajaya Berhad to engage an independent architect or engineers to conduct a survey to ascertain whether the houses, especially those in Phase 2 adjacent to the quarry, were safe for occupancy.

“Most of the houses experience minor vibrations each time there is rock blasting, so this is a fair demand. It clearly shows that Mahaquarry was not following guidelines,” said Teo.

The residents, who handed over a seven-point memorandum, told Teo that, in the event the independent architects or engineers found the houses unsafe, Mahajaya should carry out immediate repairs and conduct an in-depth survey to assess the safety of all slopes in the township regularly.

A copy of the findings should be forwarded to the residents committee, they said.

This article is taken from The Star.


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