The Centre has asked Karnataka government to stop mining activities of three companies in Bellary district, where they are allegedly flouting forest rules.
In his July 3 letter to State Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, said the three mining companies–S B Minerals, Trident Minerals and Veeyam Private Limited–operate in the forest areas in Sandur near Bellary, violating rules.
He said the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), a statutory committee of the Centre that monitors forest violations by mining companies, had recommended that the State government should immediately undertake a survey to demarcate mining areas from those falling under forest department in Sandur.
Quoting the FAC, the Minister said all the three companies should erect heavy boundary pillars and provide a mandatory safety zone of 7.5 metres width around their mining areas.
Survey and demarcation including erection of pillars should be completed within a period of one month and trees should be planted in the safety zone during rainy season, the Minister said in the letter.
“Till the work of demarcation and survey are completed, the forest clearance of the three mines should be withdrawn temporarily.
“During that period, the State Forest Department should ensure that no transportation of minerals is allowed,” said the letter.
Ramesh also asked the State government to register forest offence cases against the companies as well as the erring officials who were responsible for allowing the companies to violate norms. He urged the chief minister to submit an action taken report on this issue by July 10, 2010.
Recent survey conducted by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), a mining regulatory agency under the Union Ministry of Mines, has found that all 60 mining companies involved in iron-ore extracting activities in Bellary have either flouted mining norms or engaged in illegal mining activities.