HC seeks info on sand mining licences

 
The government had issued temporary permits for mining and transportation of sand charging Rs 250 per load in the areas of Bangalore, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramanagara, Tumkur, Hassan and Mysore. This was stayed on October 21, 2009 following a petition.

A division bench headed by Justice V Gopala Gowda directed the government to furnish details on the number of licences that were operational, the extent of the land on river beds and coastal areas, the acreage classified as patta lands and extent of these lands where sand mining has been permitted without conversion under the provisions of Karnataka Land Revenue Act.

Advocate General Ashok Haranahalli appealed for vacation of stay as it had affected not only the public, but also the State resulting in loss of revenue.  A committee set up to look into the matter recommended to entrust the sand extraction to the Public Works Department.  The interim licences were granted while the recommendation is under the consideration of Law Department. He further stated that the state would come up with a policy in the next three months.

In response to the Advocate General’s argument that the sand transporters had resorted to the strike on account of the stay order, the Bench reprimanded saying that the strike could not be the reason for vacating the order. The matter has been posted for on Friday.

Panel set up

The Court has constituted a 7-member panel to look into the construction of Metro underground station near Vidhana Soudha. Chief Secretary, Registrar General of HC, environmentalist, Principal Secretary of Forest, Ecology and Environment Department,  Director of Rock Institute, Kolar Gold Fields, Traffic Commissioner and hydrologist Prof Madhu Shekar of IISc are the members of the committee. It will look into all aspects of laying temporary roads, ancillary buildings and the construction of underground station. Justices V Gopala Gowda and B V Nagaratna directed that the report be submitted within 15 days. The move comes in the wake of a petition filed by G R Mohan alleging indiscriminate felling of trees for the work.

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