SC has permitted three mines to extract ore in the district
Resumption of mining operations in Bellary district after 16 months has brought smile back on the face of mine owners and others dependent on mining activity directly or indirectly.
The Supreme Court had imposed a blanket ban on mining in the district to curb illegal operations.
Of the three mines falling in Category A, where the Supreme Court has allowed resumption of mining, only B. Kumar Gouda Mines, located in the Swami Malai Block in an extent of 54.23 hectares, started operations recently.
Nadeem Minerals and Tiffin Barryates are the other mines permitted to resume mining in the district. However, they are yet to start operations.
“Our mines started operations in 2006. As we have been adhering to the rules and regulations imposed by the Indian Bureau of Mines and other departments concerned and were quick to adopt the Reclamation and Rehabilitation (R&R) Plan in the leased area, we got the much-needed approval from the Supreme Court to resume mining,” Srinivas Rao, head of mining operations at B. Kumar Gouda Mines, told The Hindu.
According to him, the Supreme Court has permitted the mine owner to extract 6.4 lakh tonnes of ore a year based on the ore reserve, dumping capacity and also the capacity of the road to transport the quantum of ore. Prior to the ban, the company was extracting around 20 lakh tonnes of ore a year.
It may be mentioned here that following a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Dharwad-based Samaj Parivarthan Samudaya against rampant illegal mining, especially in connivance with officials and politicians, the apex court imposed a blanket ban on mining operations on July 29, 2011. “Adhering the to the rules and regulations and also implementing the suggestions made in the R&R Plan, which included construction of retaining wall, check dams and gully plugs, setting up a plantation, including fruit-bearing trees, geotextliling of old dumps, and building garland drains, as specified by the Indian Council of Forestry, Research and Education (ICFRE), enabled us to get the early permission to resume mining,” Mr. Rao said.
He added that the company had initiated other remedial measures, including acquiring a mechanised sprinkler mounted on a lorry with genset at a cost of Rs. 40 lakh, though they were not suggested in the R&R Plan.
“Our management, unlike that of other companies, did not retrench its workforce after the ban was imposed. We are happy to resume operations though the quantum of ore that can be extracted now is less,” Ramachandra, a mine worker, said.