‘If allotted, it will prove detrimental to environment, ecology’

A large number of people from Sandur and surrounding areas, under the banner of Jan Sangram Parishat, along with members of the National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources and other pro-people organisations, submitted a memorandum on Friday to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urging him not to re-allot the 51 C category mines for which leases had been cancelled by the Supreme Court.

They have appealed to the Chief Minister to declare Ramgadh and Swamimalai forest blocks in Sandur taluk as eco-sensitive zones to protect the rich biodiversity.

T.M. Shivakumar, president of Sandur Nagarika Horata Samiti, who submitted the memorandum to a representative of the Deputy Commissioner, while welcoming the cancellation of 51 leases of C category mines, said that their re-allotment through auction had come as a shock to nature-lovers, environmentalists and farmers. According to him, it would spell doom to the rich biodiversity of the area, which had already suffered severely when mining was going on.

He pointed out that even some of the mining leases categorised as A and B were in reserve forest areas. People in these areas had suffered a lot without any basic infrastructure, even as their farmland had been acquired and converted into stockyards and the like.

Mr. Shivakumar said that the proposed Reclamation and Rehabilitation (R&R) plan had become a mirage as it was yet to be implemented, even though about 15 per cent of the sale proceeds of iron ore through e-auction had been transferred to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). As a result, people were still not getting potable water, forcing them to buy water to quench their thirst. Further, there was no proper public transport facility, roads or educational facilities.

Reminding Mr. Siddaramaiah that he had himself noticed the extent of illegal mining in Ramgadh forest areas during his visit a couple of years ago, Mr. Shivakumar said that re-allotment of cancelled leases would be detrimental to the environment.

He appealed to the Chief Minister to consider constituting a high-level committee to look into the matter, besides inviting public opinion, especially from the residents of Sandur, Samaj Parivartana Samudaya, the petitioner in the Supreme Court, intellectuals and environmentalists, before taking a decision in the matter.

  • Demand to declare Ramagdh, Swamimalai forest areas as eco-sensitive zones

  • ‘The proposed Reclamation and Rehabilitation plan is yet to be implemented’