New Delhi: The Centre has asked the Karnataka
government to take action against three mining firms operating
in Sandur in Bellary district for alleged violation of forest
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in a recent letter to
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has alleged that the firms --
S B Minerals, Trident Minerals and Veeyam Private Ltd -- were
carrying out mining activities without adhering to mandatory
norms laid down by the authorities while giving forest
clearance, sources said.
They said that the Minister has asked the state
government to temporarily withdraw the forest clearance given
to the three companies till they implement the norms that
included erection of pillars and tree plantation in the safety
zone during rainy season.
"During that period, the State Forest Department should
ensure that no transportation of minerals is allowed," Ramesh
said urging the Chief Minister to submit an action taken
report (ATR) on the issue by July 10.
Ramesh pointed out that the Forest Advisory Committee
(FAC), a statutory panel under his ministry that monitors
forest violations, had suggested that the state government
should immediately undertake a survey to demarcate mining
areas from those falling under forest department in Sandur.
Quoting the FAC, Ramesh said all the three companies
should erect heavy boundary pillars and provide a mandatory
safety zone of 7.5 metres width around their mining areas
which is a pre-condition for carrying out any mining activity.
Ramesh stressed that safety zone survey and demarcation
including erection of pillars should be completed within a
period of one month and trees should be planted in the safety
zone during rainy season, as per FAC condition.
"Till then, the forest clearance given to the three
mines should be temporarily withdrawn, the minister has said,"
the sources added.
The demand from the Environment Ministry for action
against the firms comes close on the heels of the Centre`s
suggestion to the Karnataka government for a CBI probe into
the ongoing rampant illegal mining, particularly that of iron
ore, in the state.
On June 18, Ramesh had rapped the state forest department
for failure in preventing encroachments into its own reserved
"This has led to rampant illegal mining of iron ore
particularly in Bellary district," he had said while underling
the need for survey and demarcation to ensure that illegal
mining does not take place in forest areas.