CEC probe stuck as mining maps go missing

CEC probe stuck as mining maps go missing

A Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which is looking into the extent and value of illegal mining in Karnataka, has hit a roadblock in its investigations into over 60 ‘B’ category mining leases, officials told this newspaper.

Eight months after the Congress was elected to office in Karnataka, sets of files, depicting mining lease areas, have become ‘untraceable’. 

Sources attribute the ‘missing’ files to a lack of survey of mining areas, prior to the leases being granted to the companies. While most are not traceable, officials said that a few which were available could not even be read as they were soiled over time.

The files are integral to identifying the extent of illegal mining in the ‘B’ category mines.

According to the Supreme Court’s directions, the CEC panel has been asked to identify the illegalities committed by the companies inside and outside the mining areas by ‘B’ category mining lessees and also the value of the illegally mined iron ore. Officials said the panel is exploring other avenues to complete their task. 

The panel has started three pilot projects in Bellary with the technical support of Singareni Collieries Company (SCCL), a Andhra Pradesh company. Once the pilot projects show the extent and value of the illegal mining, the panel is looking at forming a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for ‘measured’ and ‘legal’ mining operations to be allowed in Karnataka.

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