SC panel for Rs 33k cr to reclaim environment

The Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has recommended a project of about Rs 33,000 crore to undertake environment and socio-economic development in three iron ore-rich districts of Karnataka, where large scale illegal mining took place.

In its report submitted to the apex court, the green panel said that for implementing the project a special purpose vehicle (SPV) headed by Karnataka chief secretary should be set up in Bangalore. The SPV can function for up to 30 years to fulfill its task of rejuvenation of lost environment and socio-economic development including afforestation, widening roads, setting up hospitals, promotion of agriculture and drinking water projects in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts, the report said.

On raising the required amount for money for the purpose, the CEC said that sale of iron ore proceeds through e-auction conducted by monitoring committee, levies imposed on iron ore, compensation and penalty imposed on violators should be transferred to the SPV.

According to estimates of panel, the SPV is likely to receive about Rs 2,897 crore during 2012-13, Rs 6,450 crore (between 2013-18) and Rs 23,500 crore (between 2018-44) to implement the project. During the 30 years term a total of Rs 32,847 crore would be available for implementing environment protection and conservation measures, the CEC said.

The apex court earlier ordered setting up of the SPV to implement the Comprehensive Environment Plan for Mining Impact Zone. Following this, the CEC prepared the structure of the SPV and submitted the report to the court saying that implementation should start in 2013-14 and  completed in 2043-44.

The panel also suggested that the 49 mining leases under Category-C which have stopped operations due to large scale violations in mining, cannot be given to current lease holders anymore. Fresh mining operations can be allowed in this area, which is around 1,914.66 hectares, only after complete implementation of the rehabilitation and reclamation plan.

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