Even as the Karnataka government is preparing to cancel 51 mining leases that come under Category C following a Supreme Court directive, lessees have decided to move the apex court seeking review of the order.
A three-member team of the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which met officials and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, directed Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath to commence the process of cancelling leases of all mines coming under Category C by June-end. The CEC in its final report submitted on February 3, 2012 classified mining leases into Category A, B, and C based on illegalities. Following the report, the Supreme Court on April 18, 2013 cancelled 51 leases in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts.
When The Hindu contacted a few lessees confirmed their decision to approach the Supreme Court seeking review of April 18 order.
Raghavendra Ghodke, general manager V.S. Lad and Sons, said all the 51 lessees had resolved to approach the apex court. Asserting that V.S. Lad and Sons had not committed any “illegality”, Mr. Ghodke said the encroachment of his company was “miniscule” compared to specifications and it was “least count error.”
In fact, the CEC had kept V.S. Lad and Sons separately and recommended to the court for including it in Category B.
“Unfortunately, the court rejected the recommendation”, he said.
Managing Director BMM company Dinesh Singh said they would file a review petition once the Supreme Court reopens after the vacation. “We are seeking regularisation, as ours is the oldest mines, which is operating since 1951. We are prepared to pay the penalty fixed by the court,” he said.
To a question if there would be joint petition by the 51 lessees, Mr. Ghodke said each one of them would file a separate application, as the proportion of alleged illegality differed.
Basanth Poddar, vice-chairman of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries admitted that the lessees had approached the industry body.
“We are weighing the option of moving the court on their behalf, and a decision in this regard would be taken soon,” he added.