Supreme Court pulls up committee on Karnataka mine reportMay 6th, 2011 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday slammed the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) assisting it on forest and environmental matters for not carrying out detailed survey in respect of 99 mining leases largely in Bellary district of Karnataka.
Most of these mines are alleged to have been engaged in illegal mining.
The apex court forest bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice K.S. Panickar Radhakrishana chided the CEC after it could not provide point by point rebuttal to the objections raised by some of the mine lease holders to the committee’s third report recommending cancellation of their mining leases.
The committee had given clean chit to 25 mining leases for not being involved in violations and encroachments.
The CEC was set up by the apex court in order to assist it in deciding the matters requiring environmental and forest clearances for different projects.
Based on the fourth report of the CEC, the court suspended the mining operations of Laxmi Narayan Mining Corporation. The company has been restrained from lifting its already mined ores.
Having pulled up the CEC, the court directed the setting up of a new joint committee that would include the officials of the forest, mines and geology departments of Karnataka, representatives of Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde and that of the CEC to inspect 99 mining leases.
The court said that the representatives of the lease holders too would be present during inspections by the joint team.
The court said that in some of the cases brought to it Friday some data needed verification before the restrain order could be issued suspending mining operations and to ascertain the veracity of the statements made by the lease holders.
The court said that after the joint inspection, “if we come to the conclusion that there has been illegal mining outside the lease area, the mining activity will be stopped not only in the encroached area but also in the areas under sanctioned lease.”
The court said illegal mining would include mining pits, dumping mounds and the construction of the roads.
The report by the joint inspection team is to be submitted when the court re-opens after summer recess.
The forest bench said that according to the report of the CEC, based on the Dec 18, 2008, order of Karnataka Lokayukta, 1081 hectares of forest area is under illegal encroachment by various mining companies.
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Tags: aftab, alam, apex, apex court, bench, cancellation, cec, chief justice, clean chit, environmental matters, geology departments, joint committee, kapadia, lease holders, mining corporation, mining leases, New Delhi, objections, point rebuttal, veracity