SC committee finds illegal mining in Karnataka

SC said that large-scale illegal mining was on in Karnataka in connivance with officials and public representatives.

Updated: Apr 15, 2011, 20:08 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed
Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on Thursday said that large-scale
illegal mining was on in Karnataka particularly in Bellary
district in connivance with officials and public

Special forest bench headed by Chief Justice SH
Kapadia issued notice to the state government and sought its
response on various findings in the CEC`s interim report
including the export of 304.91 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore
without valid permit between 2003 to 2009-10.

The report, which was placed before the bench, 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
respective state governments in 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.