Mines Director Srinivas shifted

The transfer of H.R. Srinivas, Director, Mines and Geology, despite a direction from the Supreme Court in March 2012 that the officer cannot be transferred for two years, has raised questions about the seriousness of the government in pursuing illegal mining cases in Karnataka.

On Saturday, the government posted S. Shankaranarayanan, Special Commissioner Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, as Director, Mines and Geology, in place of Mr. Srinivas.

Mr. Srinivas was one of the officials handpicked by the Supreme Court-constituted Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to help in the illegal mining probe. He was also on the three-member monitoring committee dealing with various issues related to mining.

Besides Mr. Srinivas, the other members of the committee are Additional Chief Conservator of Forests Deepak Sarmah and Chief Conservator of Forests U.V. Singh.

The CEC recommended in March 2012 that the “monitoring committee be continued for two more years and their services should not be withdrawn for that period”. The Supreme Court accepted the recommendation of the CEC and passed directions accordingly.

It may be mentioned here that Mr. Srinivas had recommended premature termination of 14 iron ore mining leases from A and B category mines in the State in June 2013.

He recommended cancellation of these leases along with 16 other mines in Category C over the last two years on the grounds of violating the lease deed conditions, illegal mining by way of encroachment, and defects while granting lease. Mr. Srinivas had sent the recommendations to the Secretary, Department of Mines, to terminate the leases of these mines twice over the last two years. However, the proposal was rejected.

Samaj Parivarthan Samudaya, petitioner in the illegal mining case in the apex court, linked the early transfer of Mr. Srinivas to his recommendations on termination of leases.

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