The Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has recommended the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Environment Conservation Plan (ECP) in the three mining districts of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur.

Following the directive issued by the Supreme Court on September 28, the CEC recommended the setting up of a SPV. The term of the project is 30 years and the total cost envisaged is Rs. 30,000 crore.

The project, according to the CEC has been prepared after taking into consideration “that mining activities have not contributed to the inclusive growth of the project area and huge damage has been caused to the environment, agriculture, livelihood in the mining zone, because of unscientific, unsustainable and illegal mining that has taken place in recent years”.

The CEC also suggested ways to mobilise funds for SPV’s operation. The report said that 10 to 15 per cent of sale proceeds on the “existing stock” of Category A and B leases respectively; entire sale proceeds of Category C; 10 per cent of the sale proceeds of the iron ore “that would be produced after resumption of mining operation” by Category A and B; and compensation received from Category B leases; should go to the SPV, under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary of Karnataka.

The amount accrued through the process “should be used exclusively for undertaking socio-economic and infrastructure development, afforestation, soil and bio-diversity conservation for ensuring inclusive growth of the area surrounding mining leases, the report said.

Cancellation of mining

The CEC has also recommended cancellation of Category C mines for “being involved in substantial illegal mining”. There are 49 mining leases in Category C with the annual permissible production estimated at 5 million tonnes.

Reserving leases

The CEC, in its report submitted to the Supreme Court, has also recommended reserving lease areas of Category C after cancellation and preparation of Rehabilitation and Reclamation (R&R) plans through a transparent process, to State-owned public sector undertakings (PSUs).