The National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR) and Samaj Parivartana Samudaya (SPS) have welcomed the Supreme Court order dated November 2, 2012 on not allowing any new mining leases in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts without the court’s permission.

In three districts

Founder-president of NCPNR and SPS S.R. Hiremath told presspersons here on Sunday that the Supreme Court had said “no new mining leases in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga will be granted without obtaining permission of this honourable court. This will include cases for which notifications have been issued but where leases have not been executed”. Mr. Hiremath said that it was a significant direction as there had been serious cases of bribes/ quid pro quo by officials and people’s representatives, including several former Chief Ministers of Karnataka.

He said the SPS welcomed the SC order on rejecting the recommendation of the Indian Council for Forest Research and Environment (ICFRE) in its Macro Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted to the court regarding exploring underground iron ore mining in the Western Ghats.

‘Suggestion approved’

Referring to the order, Mr. Hiremath said that the apex court had approved the suggestion of amicus curiae Shyam Divan who had submitted to the court appealing it to consider as “beyond the remit of ICFRE”, the observations contained in the ICFRE Macro EIA report relating to iron ore mining in the Western Ghats and reject it.

“Considering the suggestion of the amicus curiae, the Supreme Court said ‘we disapprove of and reject the suggestions of the ICFRE concerning mining operations in the Western Ghats. No mining operations of any kind in the Western Ghats is to be countenanced’,” Mr. Hiremath said.

He said the ICFRE had gone beyond its terms of reference and recommended exploring feasibility of underground mining in the Western Ghats, which was one of the ecological hotspots in the world.

Direction to States

Mr. Hiremath said that the Supreme Court had also directed counsels of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to get the response from the respective State governments and also from the Surveyor-General of India and inform the court their reply with regard to fixing the Inter State Border (ISB) between the two States. He said that fixing the ISB that runs through Bellary Reserve Forest (BRF) had been hanging fire and the apex court’s direction would help finalise the matter soon.

He said the SPS had made another submission to the CEC on other issues that were likely to be taken up at the next hearing.

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