State assures SC mining suspended in Bellary

Govt promises action against officers who connived with companies

State assures SC mining suspended in Bellary

Pointing out that it had suspended the mining leases of Trident Minerals, S B Minerals and Veeyam Pvt Ltd, the state government assured a three-judge forest Bench headed by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia that action would be initiated against district-level officers of the concerned departments within three months.

The reply filed by the state government also named Chief Conservator of Forest M K Shukla and other officers, including P Rajashekaran, T V Srinivasan, Mahesh Patil, H L Rangaraju, who allegedly issued false no-objection certificates holding that the areas where mining leases were applied were in non-forest land.

In deference to the recommendations of the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), the state government also claimed having initiated disciplinary enquiry against Regional Forest Offier V K Thippswamy and others for allegedly issuing false no-objection certificates in certain cases.

Besides, the Karnataka government submitted that it was willing to accept the recommendations of the in order to curb the menace of illegal mining in the state. This follows the CEC’s report which had specifically recommended that mining operations in different places, including Ramgarh and Swamimalai forest blocks in Sandur range of Bellary.

“The CEC recommendations are acceptable to the state government. The state is committed to curb illegal mining and will take all necessary action, including those recommended by the CEC,” the government claimed.

In an affidavit filed before the Bench, the Karnataka Government had sought a ban on the export of iron ore in line with the recommendation of state Lokayukta, claiming “it would strengthen the hands of the state government in bringing a complete stop to the menace of illegal mining.”

The state government’s response was the result of the Supreme Court issuing a notice to it following the submission of the CEC’s interim report on April 15, alleging largescale illegal mining by companies in connivance with officials even during 2009-10 despite a report by the Lokayukta.

With regard to mining operations in Sandur and Bellary forest divisions, the government said extraction of iron ore by Sparkline Mining Corporation, Shiv Vilas Trust, J M Vrishabendraiah, Adarsh Enterprises and Rama Rao Poal had been suspended.

The government claimed it was taking action in 99 cases in which the Lokayukta found encroachment and illegal mining. It assured the Bench that it would re-examine allegations of illegal mining against Lakshminarayana Mining Company which was compounded by a senior officer for allegedly committing a forest offence.

Falling in line

* Government to take action against district-level officers within three months.
* The reply filed by the government also names Chief Conservator of Forest.
* They allegedly issued false NoCs, holding that the areas where mining leases were applied were in non-forest land.
* The government also claimed having initiated disciplinary enquiry against a regional forest officer.
* It also submitted that it was willing to accept the recommendations of the CEC.

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