Direct CEC to make appropriate recommendations: samudaya

Samaj Parivartan Samudaya (SPS), petitioner in illegal mining case, on Friday urged the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the “glaring” illegalities allegedly committed by a few mining leases in Karnataka and direct the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to make “appropriate” recommendations.

Addressing presspersons, founder-president the samudaya S.R. Hiremath said that a joint survey by a team of experts, following the direction of the Supreme Court, unearthed large-scale “illegalities” allegedly committed by a few mining leases and suggested further investigation. “We appeal to the Supreme Court to direct the CEC to inquire into this and suggest appropriate recommendations,” he said.

Exhibiting documents in support of his allegations, Mr. Hiremath said that though the mining lease granted to Deepchand Kishenlal expired on July 4, 1994, the lessee was allegedly allowed to undertake mining and transportation of iron ore “illegally” till January 2007. A report filed by a joint committee confirmed that the lessee illegally extracted 14.51 lakh tonnes of ore, he alleged.

Similarly, the expert team pointed out that Matha Minerals had extracted 10 lakh tonnes of ore illegally by encroaching upon forest area of 200 acres and favoured a “detailed investigation to decide the real beneficiary of the illegally mined ore outside the sanctioned lease area, besides recovery of market value of the ore,” he said.

He alleged that Rama Rao Poal was responsible for denudation of forest cover in Ramgadh area in Sandur district. According to the CEC report, “At least 32,840 trees had been chopped off by the lessee in the mining area. It is a pool of irregularities and has to be dealt with sternly.”

Sesa Goa, an industry major, was facing the charge of exporting iron ore from Krishnapatnam port after the Karnataka government banned the transportation of ore. Ministry of Corporate Affairs, which investigated the alleged fraud committed by the company, unearthed cases of under-invoicing of iron ore, he said.

The records of the Department of Mines and Geology showed that Latha Mining Company was involved in illegal mining and is stated to have extracted and transported nearly nine lakh tonnes of ore, he pointed out.

Taking exception to the CEC classification of leases that have encroached upon more than 10 per cent of the lease area under Category “C”, Mr. Hiremath regretted that big lease holders benefitted because of this “wrong” classification. “Those leases that have encroached upon more than one hectare of land ought to be classified under Category ‘C’,” he said. Penalty should be imposed on leases in categories “B” and “C” leases for illegal mining, he said.

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