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Karnataka urged to speed up rehab of areas damaged by illegal mines

Says the ill-gotten wealth should be recovered and used for reclamation and rehabilitation

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Dharwad 

The National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR) has urged chief minister Siddaramiah to take steps to initiate punitive action against companies involved in illegal mining and the officials who connived with them.

Founder president of NCPNR S R Hiremath said that the mere cancellation of licences issued to the guilty companies was not sufficient. The ill-gotten wealth should be recovered and used for reclamation and rehabilitation. The exact quantity of illegal ore extracted by them should be determined using the three-dimensional method as the CBI had used it successfully in the case of Obalapuram Mining Company and Associated Mining Company (AMC).

The reclamation and rehabilitation works should be carried out entirely at the cost of the polluters," he said. He said, the government should not allow mining in 51 'C' category mines (those that have seen maximum violation of mining rules) and declare those ecologically sensitive areas for conservation.

Hiremath pointed out that the Supreme Court had cancelled the mining licence in these areas and the government should not allow anyone to restart mining operations under any circumstances. The mineral deposits in these areas should be preserved for the coming generations and steps be taken to set right the harm caused to the environment due to mining, he said.

Demanding action against the officials involved in the mining scam, Hiremath said the officials who connived with the mining companies and helped them carry out illegal mining too should be prosecuted and every paisa of their ill-gotten wealth should be recovered.

The SC in its order dated April 18, has directed the state government to cancel 51 mining leases in category 'C' and allot them to steel mills for captive consumption. The state government has constituted a committee to work out the modalities of reallotments.

The Lok Ayukta report on illegal mining had named 671 officials including some senior IAS and IPS officers who joined hands with the mining companies in this scandal. Severe punishment should be awarded to them so that it could be a caution to others, he said.

To a query, he said NCPNR would file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court referring to the unfinished task in its September 3 order.

First Published: Mon, June 24 2013. 20:36 IST