Finally, Karnataka sends ATR on Lokayukta report

Finally, Karnataka sends ATR on Lokayukta report

Illegal mining: State government books 56 cases against encroachers

Finally, Karnataka sends ATR on Lokayukta report

In its ATR sent through e-mail by Karnataka Chief Secretary to the Ministry of Mines Secretary on April 23, 2010, the State Government said complying with the directive of the Karnataka High Court, the Forest Department has stopped mining by leaseholders in the encroached forest area.

A copy of the ATR with Deccan Herald says: “The State has clearly decided that no mining would be allowed in the Western Ghats and the ecologically sensitive national parks.”

Status report

Interestingly, this is the first ever report submitted to the Centre by the State government about the status of mining activities in Karnataka. “As suggested by the Mines Ministry, action is being taken to check the production of ore, tally it with the quantity unutilised locally and exported. A drive was taken up at Bellikere and Karwar ports on March 2, 2010 to check the transportation of ore without valid permits and action has been taken to stop 10,14,589 tonnes and further investigation is on,” said the report.

Apart from this, the State Government also claimed that two officers working in North Canara district have been suspended for dereliction of duty. The forest department conducted raids on March 15, 2010 and seized 5 lakh million tonne at Bellikere port and 50,000 tonnes at Karwar port,” added the report.

It may be noted that with the receipt of a number of complaints about illegal mining in Karnataka, Union Minister for Mines B K Handique in his letter written on November 16, 2009 had asked the BJP-led government to submit an ATR on the Lokayukta inquiry report which detected mushrooming of illegal mining in Bellary and adjoining districts.

Though the Centre had offered Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) help to the State in conducting investigation to rein in the mining mafia, the State Government had rejected it saying that such inquiry was uncalled for.

The State Government was criticised by the Union Ministry for not allowing the officials of the mining regulator Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) to conduct field survey in the mining areas of Bellary district.

The IBM, which recently launched a fresh survey in Bellary district, had found in its earlier survey that 26 companies were violating norms while excavating iron ore and recommended the State Government to suspend the mining lease of 12 mines.