Suspend mining licences of six firms: SC panel

The committee has recommended suspension of mining and transportation of leases belonging to Hothur Traders, V S Lad & Sons, Vesco, Bharath Mines and Minerals, SKME and H Ranaganagouda.

The joint committee, comprising CEC officers – P V Jayakrishnan (Chairman) and M K Jiwrajka (Member Secretary), Dr U V Singh (Lokayukta), Dipak Sarmah (Forest Dept), and H R Srinivas (Mines and Geology Department) – recommended the suspension after reviewing the joint survey of 11 leases.

The orders for suspension of operations will be issued by the Department of Mines and Geology, shortly.

In two cases – Laxminarayanan Mines and Chowgule and Co – the SC-appointed committee found some irregularities and will conduct further field surveys to determine the extent of violations. These leases will be suspended too, sources said.

The joint survey committee also found little or no illegalities in the case of three mines: Ashwath Narayana Singh Mining Company, Tiffin’s Barytes Asbestos and VNK Menon.

The joint committee was formed by the Supreme Court to survey 99 mining leases following a writ petition by Dharwad-based NGO Samaja Parivartana Samudaya.
The Court had ordered that the panel was empowered to suspend mining operations once irregularities had been established, and the lease owners could approach the Supreme Court to seek redressal.

With this, the leases of 25 mines have been suspended since the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) submitted a report to the Supreme Court. Of this, 19 mines were ordered for suspension in April after the submission of the CEC reports.

Slow pace

However, concerns have been raised about the slow pace of the joint survey operations, and whether it would be completed by July, when the Supreme Court will convene after vacation. One of the members told Deccan Herald that the joint surveys were a time consuming process, and they were doing as professional a job as they can. “We have to verify and re-verify the leases, as we want to make this a water-tight case,” the member added.

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