SC committee hints at mining ban in Bellary

SC committee hints at mining ban in Bellary

Law of land doesnt appear to apply here, says member

SC committee hints at mining ban in Bellary

After two days of public hearing and field visit to Bellary, the five member team, led by Chairperson P V Jayakrishnan and Member Secretary M K Jiwrajka,  threw several hints that the CEC was actively considering to recommend banning all mining activity in Bellary district.

During a visit to Bharata Rayan Harivu (BRH) and adjacent mines in Sandur taluk, Jiwrajka found several irregularities such as shifting of lease boundaries, illegal mining in forest areas, and filling up of illegally mined ore pits.

While inspecting a case of illegal mining outside the lease area of S B Minerals, he remarked, “The law of the land does not appear to apply to Bellary”.

Later in the afternoon, during a public hearing, the CEC repeatedly hinted to petitioners that they were in favour of a mining ban. The CEC also took note that there were several questionable land transactions in Bellary owing to the mining boom. In the case of Kesari Prasad Yadav, a farmer from UP, who has purchased land at Ramgad, and was alleged to have mined without a lease, the CEC questioned the source of Yadav’s funds.

The land in question was purchased from Good Shepherd convent at Rs 1.80 crore, while Yadav’s income was shown to be less than Rs 2 lakh per annum. Jiwrajka sarcastically asked which bank, or which government scheme, spared the money to allow Yadav to purchase this property.

Farcical moment

At one point, in what was probably the most farcical moment of the day, a representative of the Bellary Catholic Diocese replied with discomfort at a CEC proposal to declare forest land as revenue land without permission to mine. “We want the land for mining purpose also”, said the Church representative. At this suggestion, the entire committee along with the district officials burst out laughing.

And perhaps sensing that the end was near, the last visitor to the CEC was BJP MLA and mining baron Anand Singh.  Singh, whose mine was inspected earlier in the day by the committee, requested the CEC to allow the continuation of mining for the “development of Bellary”.

The CEC has been directed by the Supreme Court to submit a report on illegal mining in Karnataka following a writ petition filed by Samaj Parivartana Samudaya.