Two-track formula for Bellary mess

The CEC has concluded that only leases where illegal mining on a large scale have been found should be cancelled. For the remaining offenders, the Committee has said that mining operations may resume on meeting certain conditions.

Firstly, a reclamation and rehabilitation plan will have to be implemented to restore areas where illegal mining has taken place. This plan will have to be implemented at the cost of the lease-holder.

Secondly, the lease boundaries fixed by the SC-appointed joint survey team will be fixed with permanent pillars, and the geo-coordinates of the corners of the lease boundaries will be recorded. Mine owners were found to be taking advantage of the lack of clearly recorded lease boundaries to indulge in illegal mining.

Thirdly, all mining leases will be required to demarcate a safety zone around a mine, and maintain it as a green belt.

And lastly, the miners will have to deposit the penalties or compensation as decided by the Supreme Court.

Large-scale illegalities

However, for mines where large-scale illegal mining has been found by the joint survey team, in addition to the above, the Karnataka government should initiate proceedings to cancel the lease. Reallotment of any lease should be done only for Government of Karnataka/India undertakings, says the CEC.

The CEC's recommendation to not shut all mines found to be involved in illegalities is seen as a partial rollback of an earlier stance to ban all miners found to have indulged in illegalities. The report justifies it so: "This is because of the acute dependence of steel and associated industries on the iron ore extracted from the region, and the no less dependence of more than one lakh families for their livelihood on the activities arising there from."

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