Suspend 18 illegal mines in Bellary, Centre tells State

Suspend 18 illegal mines in Bellary, Centre tells State

Suspend 18 illegal mines in Bellary, Centre tells State

The Ministry, which constituted a joint task force (JTF) involving the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) to conduct a survey in the district, found that the 18 companies have not only violated mining rules but  also shipped out iron ore worth crores of rupees from the country illegally.

The ministry’s action and the Joint Task Force study comes in the wake of the statement by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa that there is no illegal mining in the district or the State.

The task force in its month-long survey of 67 iron ore mines in the district found that 46 mines have been reporting to the IBM, the mining regulator, about their activities while 21 have not been reporting, which generally means they are dead mines.

Dead on paper
Surprisingly, the JTF found that 11 of the 21 non-reporting mines are working and have excavated 3.6 lakh tonnes of iron ore illegally.

“The mines, which are still excavating ore but ‘on paper  are dead,’  are nothing but illegal mines. These mines are removing ore illegally without intimating their current situation either to the Centre or State Government,” a senior official in the Ministry of Mines told Deccan Herald.

The report prepared by the JTF, accessed by Deccan Herald, shows that Bellary district has a total of 95 iron mines. It conducted a survey of 26 mines earlier and recommended the suspension of eight. After going through transport permits, it found that there was a huge gap between the royalties paid and ore transported indicating illegal transport of ore, causing huge loss to exchequer.

Following a series of complaints about mushrooming of illegal mining in Bellary district, Union Minister for Mines B K Handique had constituted a task force to crack down on the illicit activities.

As there were allegations some miners are continuing illegal mining, defying suspension orders, the inspection team used satellite imageries to pin down such cases.
Minister Handique had offered to conduct a CBI inquiry to rein in mining mafia in Karnataka, but Yeddyurappa rejected it saying such investigation was unwarranted.