Ninety per cent mining in Bellary district of Karnataka is illegal which has converted the area of green scenic into a ‘war-ravaged’ zone with huge ugly scars, says the Supreme Court-appointed committee.

Placing its report before the apex court, the expert body said a majority of companies are involved in illegal mining and recommended the State government be directed to cancel their lease.

“It is estimated that the production of mines which are not found to be involved in substantial illegalities and which are eligible to continue mining operations may not be more than 10 per cent of the total production of the iron ore in the district,” the panel said in its 23-page report.

There are 148 iron ore mining leases sanctioned in Bellary district, out of which 124 now exist and it is estimated that about 90 percent of the production is from the forest area.

“The situation at present is alarming and calls for immediate radical remedial measures,” senior advocate Shyam Diwan, appearing for the panel, said.

“As a result of mining and associated activities, today many areas present a barren dismal picture akin to a war-ravaged zone with huge ugly scars,” he said adding a “majority of mines are involved in illegal mining outside the sanctioned lease area”.

“In large number of cases, the permission for increasing the production of iron ore manifold has been granted recklessly without apparently taking into consideration the already alarming situation in the area,” the report said.

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