State submits action taken report on mining to CEC

State submits action taken report on mining to CEC

Following a writ petition filed by Samudaya Parivartana Samaj, the Supreme Court on February 25 had asked the CEC to probe illegal mining in Bellary and other forest regions of Karnataka and submit a report in six weeks.

At the meeting, Chief Secretary S V Ranganath, Principal Secretary Forest Department Kaushik Mukerjee and other officials also furnished replies to the queries sought by the CEC, including follow-up action taken by the State government in specific cases dealt in the report submitted by the Lokayukta on illegal mining in December 2008, official sources said.

The CEC has also sought the action taken on the Lokayukta report that found 1081.40 hectares of forest area encroached upon in the Bellary-Hospet-Sandur region by various mining lease holders.

The five-member CEC headed by P V Jayakrishnan (former forest and environment secretary) had sought from the State government its responses to a total of 14 queries.

These include details of mining leases sanctioned and operating in forest land in the Ramgad block in Sandur region and whether approvals under the Forest (Conservation) Act or permission of the Supreme Court had been obtained for deletion of the area from the reserved forest.

SC directive

S R Hiremath of the Samudaya Parivartana Samaj, who was present at Friday’s meeting, said the CEC expressed its unhappiness over the details provided by the mines department while stating that the details provided by forest department were satisfactory. He alleged that illegal mining was rampant in the State with the connivance of politicians and officials.

The CEC will visit Hospet, Sandur and Ramgad during the next two days to assess the extent of illegal mining.

The committee will then return to Bangalore on Monday and hold one more meeting with the Chief Secretary and other officers.

Hiremath in his petition before the Supreme Court had sought direction to take action against those who had violated the law and to recover the illegal wealth.

He also sought a direction to stay all the mining leases operating in the Bellary reserve forest area on either side of the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh inter-State boundary including the six mining leases of which three belonged to the Reddy brothers of Bellary.

Digging it out

* Committee seeks responses to 14 queries.
* CEC to begin two-day visit to Hospet and Sandur on Saturday.
* CEC has sought action taken on Lokayukta report

Bellary DC withdraws NOCs

The district administration has withdrawn no objection certificates issued by the Revenue Department to 15 mining companies and has recommended cancellation of their mining leases, DHNS reports from Bellary.

The Forest department had approached the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal alleging that records had been created to show 265 acres in Ramgad reserve forest as revenue land and mining was being carried out in the said land without obtaining permission from the department.

It had sought withdrawal of the no objection certificate issued by the Revenue department. The Tribunal is yet to pass an order on the appeal.

However, deputy commissioner Amlan Aditya Biswas said the NOCs have been withdrawn in view of the scheduled visit of Centrally Empowered Committee. The 15 firms carrying out mining in the said land include the one owned by Lad brothers. 

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