'3 companies engaged in illegal mining'

It is suspected that the missing iron ore at Belekeri port belonged to BRH mines

'3 companies engaged in illegal mining'

The company suspected that the iron ore, which went missing at Belekeri port in Karwar, was from the BRH mines.

BRH Mines, with a lease to mine in 818 acres in Sandur, was handled by the Dalmia Group till 2004.

According to Executive Director (Corporate Communication), MSPL Praveen Tugnait, the Dalmia group transferred the lease to RMML in 2004. The latter got the preliminary clearance from the Forest Department to mine in the BRH Mines. And, the process for the second round of clearance was still underway.

As of the now the area was still a forest area and nobody was allowed to extract the ore in the area. Tugnait said S B Mines (SBM) owned by Anand Singh, Veeyam Private Limited owned by M Abdul Zahid and Trident Minerals owned by Noor Ahmed had encroached upon the BRH mine limits and had been mining iron rich ore for more than a year. He said the companies had extracted iron ore worth nearly Rs 2,500 crore.

Letter to Jairam Ramesh

Tugnait said despite repeated complaints to all authorities concerned in the State Government, no action had been taken to stop the illegal activity.

The matter was referred to the Union Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh, who in turn wrote to the Chief Minister to stop illegal mining in the forest area. But the Government had remained mute spectator, he alleged.

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), a statutory committee of the Government of India, issued an order on May 10, to stop the mining activity in the mining lease area. Ramesh in his letter (dated July 3) to Chief Minister Yeddyurappa reminded him that the FAC was a statutory body and its order should be followed.

Further, he asked the Government to conduct a detailed survey of mines in the area and ask the mine lease holders to erect heavy boundary pillars.

Besides, the licence of the companies, which have been allegedly involved in illegal mining, would remain temporarily revoked till the demarcation of the leased area and the survey was done. The Union minister has also asked the State Government to submit the action taken report by July 10.

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