Karnataka not to approve mining in forest areas

August 11th, 2008 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 11 (IANS) Karnataka has decided not to approve mining in forests following a directive from the state high court. It will also ask the central government to cancel the license granted in 2003 for mining in two blocks in forest areas of Sandur in iron-ore rich Bellary district, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said here.

The then Congress government had in 2003 recommended that the central government grant license for mining in 24 blocks in various parts of the state. Several of these blocks fall in forested regions.

The central government had given license to mine in two blocks while permission is yet to be granted for the remaining 22 blocks. It will now be asked not to grant permission for these blocks in view of the high court directive.

On Aug 7, the Karnataka High Court directed the state government to put on hold mining in forest areas it was causing pollution and huge damage to the ecological balance.

The directive came on a petition by a private mining company challenging grant of license to another firm to mine in Sandur in Bellary, about 300 km from Bangalore.

Quashing the license granted to the private company, Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar said the state government had ignored the forest conservation rules.

He suggested nationalisation of mining activity to preserve the state’s and the country’s forest wealth.

Following his ruling, the state government set up a cabinet sub-committee to study the implications of the judgment and steps to be taken to follow it.

After a meeting of the sub-committee, Yeddyurappa Monday said his government will abide by the court’s directive and write to the central government to act accordingly.

“We will go by the high court directive on the case. We will write to the central government, enclosing a copy of the judgement and recommend not to approve the 22 blocks and cancel the license given to the two blocks,” he said.

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