SC bans all min­ing ac­tiv­ity in the re­gion till fur­ther or­ders

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Rakesh Bhat­na­gar NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court on Fri­day or­dered sus­pen­sion of all kinds of min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in and around the Bel­lary re­gion with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, the sec­ond blow in a row to the BS Yed­dyu­rappa gov­ern­ment.

How­ever, the top court said the or­der is not linked to lokayukta Santosh Hegde’s re­port but it’s an out­come of a pend­ing law­suit.

A bench headed by chief jus­tice SH Ka­pa­dia said min­ing has been caus­ing mas­sive en­vi­ron­ment dam­age in the re­gion.

Ninety per­cent min­ing in Bel­lary district of Kar­nataka is il­le­gal which has con­verted the green area into a war-rav­aged zone with huge ugly scars, the Supreme Court-ap­pointed com­mit­tee said on Fri­day.

“It is es­ti­mated that the pro­duc­tion of mines which are not found to be in­volved in sub­stan­tial il­le­gal­i­ties and which are eli- gible to con­tinue min­ing op­er­a­tions may not be more than 10% of the to­tal pro­duc­tion of the iron ore in the district,” the panel said.

The min­istry of en­vi­ron­ment and for­est will come out with an in­terim re­port on the re­quire­ment of iron ore for the coun­try’s steel in­dus­try, the court said. The min­istry will also spell out as to how much of the ore is re­quired for the do­mes­tic in­dus­try and how much needs to be im­ported.

“The greed of a few is mak­ing ev­ery­one suf­fer,” the judges said, adding: “We make it clear that there would be no min­ing or trans­porta­tion of mined ma­te­ri­als (in 19 mines) till fur­ther or­der.”

Bel­lary has 148 mines, of which 98 are lo­cated in for­est ar­eas. A court-ap­pointed com­mit­tee CEC sug­gested a se­vere crack­down on il­le­gal min­ing in Kar­nataka.

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