SC restrains mining operation in 19 mines in Karnataka

The Supreme Court Friday restrained 19 mines from carrying out mining operations and transportation of iron ore in Bellary region of Karnataka.

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2011, 16:51 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday restrained
19 mines from carrying out mining operations and
transportation of iron ore in Bellary region of Karnataka.

A special forest bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia
also said it would pass an order on another 68 mines which
have been indicted by the apex court-appointed Central
Empowered Committee (CEC) for violating rules in mining
operations.

"We make it clear that there would be no mining or
transportation of mined materials (in 19 mines) till further
order," the bench said in an interim order.

The bench, however, did not pass any order against 68
other mines, which have approached the Karnataka High Court.

It directed the amicus curie A D N Rao to file transfer
petition after getting list of the companies which had
approached the high court so that those cases could also be
heard by it.

The bench passed the order on the basis of reports of CEC
in which it has been stated that large-scale illegal mining
was on in Karnataka particularly in Bellary district in
connivance with officials and public representatives.

The CEC had on April 15 filed its report before the apex
court in which it had said that there has been illegal mining
on colossal scale in the state, particularly in Bellary
district with "active" connivance of officials of the
departments concerned and also public representatives.

The apex court had in February directed the CEC to conduct
a probe over allegations of illegal mining in the state and
submit a report within six weeks.

The court`s direction had come after a petition filed by
an NGO had submitted that as per Karnataka Lokayukta report,
mining activities were being carried not only illegally but
also in the areas categorised as forest land.

Earlier, the bench had directed the CEC to probe the
Andhra Pradesh side of the Bellary region.

NGO Samaj Parivartan Samudaya had alleged that the
governments of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh had failed to stop
the rampant illegal mining of iron ore, which adversely
affected the livelihood of local people, especially the rural
poor.

It had alleged that illegal mining had resulted in "an
encroachment of 1,114.8 hectares of forest land in Karnataka."

It had said, "The Union of India through both the Ministry
of Environment and Forest and the Ministry of Mines has not
exercised enough checks and balances to curtail illegal mining
in the two states."

The NGO had submitted that the Lokayukta report had
highlighted that forest area to the extent over 2,000 sq kms
was available for mining by private entities despite specific
objections raised by the Forest Department.

PTI