SC for halting mining in two more K’taka districts

After Bellary, mining operation in its two adjoining areas are facing the threat of being suspended by the SC.

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2011, 21:35 PM IST

New Delhi: After Bellary, mining operation
in its two adjoining areas are facing the threat of being
suspended by the Supreme Court as its expert panel today
recommended the halting of extraction of iron ores in Tumkur
and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka.

A three-judge forest bench headed by Chief Justice SH
Kapadia sought a response of the Centre and the state
government on the recommendation of the Central Empowered
Committee which said mining operation is going on in a
"reckless" and environmentally unsustainable manner with the
prime objective of over exploitation of iron ore for short
term private gains.

The Committee, in its latest report submitted to the apex
court, said there was loss of forest land due to illegal
mining of iron ore in 2678 hectare in Tumkur and Chitradurga
which witnessed illegal mining and excessive production
compared to the size of lease.

"This court`s July 29 order, by which the mining
operations have been suspended (in Bellary), may be extended
in respect of the mining leases in districts of Tumkur and
Chitradurga," the report said.

The report gave findings of about 55 mining leases in
Tumkur and about 18 mining leases in 687 hectare of which 500
hectare lies in the forest land in Chitradurga.

The CEC report about Tumkur said that "during the site
visit a number of mines overburdened and working pits were
outside the leased area. The construction of the road without
approval has led to loss of forest cover".

The apex court panel said mining activities have been
allowed in the area by treating as those as non--forest land
which has characteristics of natural forest and qualify to be
treated as deemed forest.

The air pollution caused by mining has adverse impact
on horticulture and agriculture.

"CEC is of the view that mining of iron ore in district
Tumkur has been done in an environmentally unsustainable
manner and without taking into consideration of
inter-generational equity, large scale illegalities and
irregularities have taken place in matter of mining of iron
ore.

"The mining is done in a reckless and irresponsible
manner with the prime objective of over exploitation of iron
ore for short-term private gains. Public interest has been
completely disregarded," the report said.

In Chitradurga district, it said there has been
environmental degradation and illegal mining.

PTI