Forest Bench says it will pass its order on Monday
The Supreme Court on Friday indicated that it might allow private mining companies, which have been given clean chit by its committee, to restart mining operation in Karnataka.
A three-judge Forest Bench, headed by Justice Aftab Alam, said that it will pass its order on Monday allowing companies to start mining on 21 leases.
The Supreme Court, which had banned all kinds of mining activities in the State, will pass the order on the recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which said that Category A mining leases, consisting of 21 operational and 24 non-operational, be allowed to carry out mining operations.
The Bench, however, made it clear that they will have to comply with the statutory rules, and that it would not impede any kind of investigation against them.
The Bench also said that the companies will have to pay damages for causing harm to environment for indulging in illegal mining in the State.
Earlier, the court had said that it would not allow resumption of mining activities of iron ore in Karnataka unless there is a statutory compliance and full implementation of reclamation and rehabilitation measures.
The Bench had also asked the CEC to examine if work in the Category A mines, with the least irregularities in them, could be commenced.
In its earlier report, the CEC had distinguished the mines in the area in three categories as A, B and C.
The mines in which there were least or no irregularities were categorised under Category A and those with maximum illegalities were put in Category C.
Karnataka Iron and Steel Manufacturing Association had also sought immediate steps for opening of 16 iron ore mines in which the CEC had found minimum irregularities. — PTI