No resumption of Karnataka mining without rehabilitation: Apex court

August 17th, 2012 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday said it would not lift its ban on the mining in three Karnataka districts without 100 percent implementation of the rehabilitation and reclamation of category A mines in the area.

“Unless we are 100 percent assured of R&R;, we are not going to permit the resumption of mining,” the court observed adding that it had to be satisfied about the 100 percent compliance of the scheme. The mining has been put on hold in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts.

The forest bench of Justice Aftab Alam, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar’s order came while asking its central empowered committee to file a comprehensive report on the issue of resumption of mining activities in Category A mines.

The court asked its appointed CEC on environmental matters to prepare a schedule for the implementation of all statutory compliances and said that it would grant permission for the resumption of mining only after R&R; scheme was effectively implemented.

The court said that it did not want the scheme on the paper but its implementation on the ground as senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing some of the manufacturers, pleaded for the resumption of mining activities in A category mines.

The court said that CEC, while preparing the comprehensive report would also take into considerations the issues raised by the counsel Prashant Bhushan representing the PIL petitioner Samaj Parivartana Samudaya.

Bhushan told the court that private miners were involved in all kinds of vices and criminal activities including the destruction of forest cover and exports of illegally mined ores.

This illegal mining by the private miners in forest area had adversely affected the agricultural activities dipping its production by 25 percent, he added.

Another senior counsel Chander Uday Singh who also appeared for steel manufacturers said that the short supply of the iron ores was affecting the production of the steel manufacturers, which were operating at 60 percent of their installed capacity.

The senior counsel told the court that National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) was asked to extract one million tonnes of iron ores per month but it was not meeting its target.

On a query from the court, senior counsel Arvind Datar, appearing for the NMDC, told the court that the public sector mining company would meet its target of extracting one million tonnes of iron ore per month.

In response to court’s query that was it capable of this, Datar said: “We have no difficulty in extracting one million tonnes of ore.”

At this Chander Uday Singh told the court that even if NMDC produced one million tonnes of iron ore, even then it would be far short of industry’s requirements.

“We want the mining to start otherwise we will have to shut down,” he told the court.

Asking Datar to ensure that furnaces of the steel industry keep running, Justice Alam told Singh: “You will have to live that reality. There are other considerations.”

The court allowed Central Bureau of Investigation another two months to complete its probe into corruption charges against former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his family members for allegedly showing favours in a quid pro quo deal.

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