Mines dept wakes up as CEC visit draws closer

Mines dept wakes up as CEC visit draws closer

Mines dept wakes up as CEC visit draws closer

Earlier last week, the State government had issued show-cause notices to firms for mining without forest clearances, and has begun to process cancellation of 11 mining leases based on the Lokayukta report.

The Department of Mines and Geology has issued show-cause notices to four mining firms in Bellary district for mining in forest areas without clearances. The four leases in question – all in Ramgad forest area – belong to Adarsh Enterprises,  Sparkline Mining Corporation, J M Vrushabendraiah, and Shivavilas Trust.

The show-cause notices point out that the firms had not obtained clearances from the Forest Department, but they had been granted leases by obtaining No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) from the Revenue department. A letter from the PCCF on March 17 asked the Mines and Geology Department not to grant any mining leases in the Ramgad reserve forest, and withdraw mining grants already given.

More leases under scanner

Deccan Herald had reported that mining firms were attempting to get denotified nearly 265 acres of forest land in Ramgad under a law meant for the protection of tribal rights. Some of these firms have claimed their rights by producing ‘false, fraudulent, and fictitious’ documents as brought out by the Deputy Commissioner of Bellary.

Besides the four show-cause notices, the government has also stepped up investigation into irregularities as pointed out in the Lokayukta report. Mines Department Secretary B S Ramprasad has asked the Mines and Geology Department to take action on 11 mining leases named in the Lokayukta report for violations.

These include leases granted to Mysore Manganese and Iron Ores Ltd,  Sandur Manganese and Iron Ores Ltd, V N K Menon, Tiffin Barites, S V Srinivasulu, Hind Traders, SB Minerals, Zeenath Transport Company(two leases), Tawab and Co, and Allum Prashanth.

The surprising thing is that in all these cases, not much progress has been made since the submission of the Lokayukta report in 2008.

In almost all the cases, only a response has been sought for the violations, and joint surveys with the lessees have not been held. In the few cases that have seen joint surveys encroachement by Zeenath Transport Company and S A Tawab have been recorded.