Panel to assess losses caused by 'C' category mining firms

Singareni Collieries may be asked to help committee in its work

Panel to assess losses caused by 'C' category mining firms

The State Government has set up a four member committee under the chairmanship of the director of Mines and Geology to estimate the losses caused to the State exchequer due to illegal mining in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts by 51 ‘C’ category mining companies.

The decision to set up the committee was taken at meeting chaired by secretary, Commerce and Industries department, on October 1. At the same meeting, it was also decided to seek the state government’s permission for proceeding against the accused firms by filing civil suits for recovering the losses caused by illegal mining.

It was also decided to take the government’s nod to allow the Mines and Geology department to file criminal cases through the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

It is said that the four-member committee will be constituted on the lines of the Reclamation and Rehabilitation (R &R) committee set up for recovering penalties from ‘B’ category mines by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) as per the Supreme Court directives.

Accordingly, the department has nominated the director of Mines and Geology as the chairperson of the committee and Biswajit Misra, chief conservator of forest (CCF), Vipin Singh, CCF/ Director of EDCS, and the Regional Mines Controller of the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) as members.

To fast track the recovery process, the department has also sought the approval of the state government to start the process of filing civil suits against the mining firms, which are accused of tax evasion. It has also sought permission from the government for a CID probe against firms which are charged with criminal actions.

The meeting also decided to re-approach the CEC or the Supreme Court seeking further clarity on recovering the dues from ‘A’ category mines which were involved in illegal mining.

Besides, the Commerce and Industries department has decided to approach Singareni Collieries Company Ltd, which is based out of Andhra Pradesh, for its technical support and knowledge to assist the department in studying the extent of illegal mining in the three districts. For this purpose, the department is likely to approach the state government for invoking the exemption clause under clause 4 (G) of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act.

To be re-auctioned

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday reiterated that the State Government has decided to re-auction 51 ‘C’ category mines.

Speaking to reporters in Chitradurga, the chief minister said the government had cancelled the licenses of the 51 ‘C’ category mining sites due to allegations of illegal mining.

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