The Dharwad-based NGO Samaj Parivartan Samudaya (SPS), petitioner in the illegal mining case on Thursday welcomed the final verdict of Supreme Court on various issues connected to illegal mining in Karnataka.

The SPS had filed a public interest litigation petition in 2009 following the interim report of the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde. Because of its effort, the Supreme Court banned mining in Bellary in July 2011 over environmental pollution following a report by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) appointed by it.

Reacting to the final verdict, SPS president S.R. Hiremath said, “We welcome the verdict of the Forest Bench of the Supreme Court.” The Supreme Court accepted the major recommendation of the CEC and cancelled the 49 mining leases falling under the ‘C’ Category mines and ordered for their re-allocation, he added.

The mining leases, in which there were no irregularities were classified by the CEC under ‘A’ category and those with some irregularities under ‘B’ category. Mines with maximum illegalities under ‘C’ category.

However, Vishnu Kamath, co-petitioner, regretted that “the order does not alter the prevailing system that enables issues to operate without adherence to law.”