‘Companies have been allowed to resume mining according to the Supreme Court’s directive that mining can be permitted based on certain conditions.’
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday told the Legislative Assembly that iron ore mining had resumed in 25 lease areas in the State.
Replying to Janata Dal (Secular) member K.M. Shivalinge Gowda during the Question Hour, the Chief Minister said companies had been allowed to resume mining according to the Supreme Court’s directive that mining could be permitted based on certain conditions.
R and R plans
Accordingly, the mining companies are supposed to submit their rehabilitation and resettlement (R and R) plans to the authorities. Mining had stopped in the State for about three years after the Lokayukta detected massive illegal mining.
The Chief Minister said the State had 166 mining leases. The Central Empowered Committee had categorised them as A, B and C depending on the quantum of violations of norms. The licences of all ‘C’ category mines have been cancelled.
In the last three years, the government sanctioned only one mining lease. This was for mining iron and manganese ore for 20 years from May 2011 in Hosadurga taluk of Chitradurga, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.
In his written reply to another JD(S) member H.D. Revanna, the Chief Minister said according to the interim report of the Karnataka Lokayukta, the State had suffered a loss of Rs. 722.22 crore in mining due to the negligence of officials. However, the Lokayukta’s final report had assessed the total losses due to illegal mining and exports at Rs. 12,228.14 crore from 2006–07 to 2010.
Charge sheets had been filed against six IAS/IPS officers with respect to the losses suffered by Mysore Minerals Ltd. Their written responses had been forwarded to the Lokayukta for further inquiry. Similarly, a case had been filed before a civil court seeking recovery of Rs. 6.41 crore from the former Director of Mines M. Basappa Reddy, he said.
A charge sheet was being issued against the former Director of Mines Gangaram Baderia to recover Rs. 1.26 crore, in addition to initiating disciplinary action, he said.
The Chief Minister said the Supreme Court had pegged the annual mining of iron ore at 30 million tonnes. However, the State had appealed to the court to consider increasing the limit as steel firms depending on the ore from Karnataka needed 40 million tonnes.