CEC proposes revival plan for districts hit by mining

Firms must shell out part of earnings for reclamation, rehab works

The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) is likely to place its Social and Ecological Development Plan for restoring the environment and human habitations in the mining devastated districts of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur, before the Supreme Court on November 2.

If the apex court gives its nod, Rs 30,000 crore will be spent over 10 to 15 years for improving the living conditions of the people as well as restoring the environment in 130 villages located in the buffer zone of nine taluks in these districts. The funds will have to come from the mining lessees, as part of their corporate social responsibility, in addition to other sources. The plan is mainly conceptualised by Bellary Deputy Commissioner Amlan Aditya Biswas.

Mine auction

The CEC has already suggested floating of a special purpose vehicle to implement the development works in the villages. It has recommended that the money to be generated by the government through the auctioning of mines falling under the ‘C’ category should go towards implementing the plan. This would not be less than Rs 12,000 crore, according to official sources.

As many as 49 mining lease holders fall under the ‘C’ category, for whom the Supreme Court has permanently banned mining. These mining pits will have to be re-auctioned.

In addition, mining lessees should part with 10 per cent of the proceeds from selling iron ore through e-auctioning conducted by the monitoring committee constituted by the CEC, for the comprehensive development of the areas in and around the mining areas - is the argument put forth by officials. On an average, a tonne of ore is sold at Rs 3,200 through auctioning.

Besides, mining firms, under corporate social responsibility, will have to spend at least two per cent of the total income for implementing the Reclamation and Rehabilitation (R&R) plan as approved by the CEC. Every mining lessee who intends carry out mining activities will have to get the R&R endorsed by the CEC, failing which mining cannot be carried out.

Classification

The implementation of the Social and Ecological Development Plan has been broadly classified under three heads - dump stabilisation, reforestation and treatment of air, water and general environment.

These works are further classified under public health, education, air quality, transport and communication, irrigation, agriculture and allied activities, drainage and sanitation, programmes for women, children, differently-abled, SC/STs, awareness and social culture, ecology and environment and research and projects in other sectors and areas.

Select villages will get health centres, de-addiction centres, ambulance service, regional science centres in Bellary and Chitradurga and engineering college in Chitradurga.

Desilting of Tungabhadra backwaters, Narihalla and Daroji tanks and check dams will have to be taken up. Fluoride treatment plants also form part of the plan.

Sources in the Forest department said such mega plans could be implemented without any scope for scams, provided an efficient team is put on the job.

If everything has to be done by the Forest department, then it will be impossible because a DFO in Bellary or an office in any other district may be handling transactions worth about Rs 200 crore to 300 crore an year.

If suddenly a mega project worth crores of rupees is sought to be implemented, then he/she may find it impossible to do a good job. Also, a lot depends on political will, sources said.

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