CEC raps K'taka govt for transferring honest officials

The Central Empowered Committee (CEC), appointed by the Supreme Court, has directed the Karnataka government to ensure that all honest officials engaged in the implementation of rehabilitation and reclamation (R&R) policies are allowed to perform their duties uninhibited.

The CEC, in its report on ways to safeguard the environment from rampant mining in Chitradurga and Bellary districts, submitted to the Supreme Court on Saturday, pulled up the state government for transferring an honest official.

Karegoudar, the assistant commissioner of Hospet sub-division in Bellary district, was promoted and posted as commissioner (vigilance), Department of Mines and Geology, Bangalore, to ensure proper implementation of R&R policies. 

However, he was transferred to the Department of Survey Settlement, Bangalore, a couple of months ago. The CEC has directed the government to reinstate him in the Mines and Geology Department.

It also instructed the government to retain Bellary Deputy Commissioner Amalan Aditya Biswas, who is also a member of the monitoring committee for preparation and implementation of R&R policies, until the policies are effected, which is likely to take another one and a half years.

The Karnataka government, on its part, said that Karegoudar will be reinstated. Biswas will continue in office until the R&R plans are drafted, it added.

The state said the present regional forest officers of Hospet and Sandur will be replaced with competent officials, keeping in view the barrage of complaints against them.

The committee also expressed its displeasure over the tardy progress in the implementation of R&R policy. Now, the R&R policies are being implemented by the Dehradun-based Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), an institution under the Ministry of Environment and Forests. However, the state government said if required, it will rope in another agency to share the load of ICFRE.

The apex court earlier ruled that iron ore mining in Karnataka could be resumed only after the implementation of the R&R policies.

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