Court orders total mining ban in Kemmannugundi
In a development that may be considered a shot in the arm for environmentalists, the Additional Civil Judge (senior division) has ordered a permanent stop to iron ore mining at Kemmannugundi in the Chandradrona Hills of the Western Ghats.
Additional Civil Judge (senior division) Manjunath Nayak on Monday ordered a complete ban on mining and related activities, considering that the land is an eco-sensitive zone and located adjacent to the Bhadra Tiger Reserve.
Bhadravati-based Visvesvaraya Iron Ore Company (VIOC) had carried out incessant mining in Kemmannugundi between 1923 and 1983. As per the guidelines, the mining activities were stopped in 1983 soon after the validity of the third term of the permit ended.
But, in 1995, when the demand for iron ore rose in the international market, three private companies obtained sub-contracts from VIOC and resumed mining activities. Wildcat-C, a local environmental organisation, and five environmentalists approached the court in 2008, questioning the move.
They brought the issue of the companies undertaking mining activities by violating the Wildlife Protection Act and Mining Act, to the notice of the court. The private firms argued in the court that they were not mining ore in the region, but were only engaged in transporting waste materials from the place, for which they had taken permission from the principal chief conservator of forests.