Officials of the departments of mines and geology, forest, revenue and Railways will be carrying out a survey of the mining areas in Sandur and Hospet taluks to identify suitable location for creating infrastructure facilities under the Comprehensive Environment Plan in Mining Impact Zone (CEPMIZ) as per a recent direction of the Supreme Court.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation (KMERC), which acts as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to implement the CEPMIZ , when Ramprasath Manohar, Deputy Commissioner, explained about the spade work he had already done and the willingness expressed by mining firms to create the much needed infrastructure facilities. Mr. Ramprasath, as a follow up to the Supreme Court direction, recently held a meeting with the mining firms and directed them to create the necessary infrastructure facilities. “The mining firms have agreed and the same was conveyed to KMERC at its meeting held a couple of days back. In turn, KMERC asked the departments concerned to carry out a survey of the areas for creation of the infrastructure facilities,” he told The Hindu .
It may be recalled that CEPMIZ has been prepared as per the direction of the Supreme Court to bring in change by restoring the damaged caused to the environment, ecology and public health in the areas ravaged by large scale mining activities in three districts – Ballari, Chitradurga, and Tumakuru. A sum of ₹7,000 crore, being the 10% of the total sale proceeds of iron ore collected and set aside for the purpose, is readily available.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Prafulla Pant, and A.M. Khanwilkar, had underlined the need for the State government to accord priority for creation of infrastructure facilities, including laying of conveyor belt system, rail sidings, and railway sub-lines before taking up other socio-economic measures chalked out in the CEPMIZ before implementing the socio-economic measures proposed to mitigate the sufferings of the people in the areas ravaged by mining activities.
He also informed that the KMERC also expressed its keenness to peruse with the Supreme Court to clear the CEPMIZ to take up implementation of socio-economic measures covering 10 areas, including health, education, water supply, improving transportation and communication, agriculture and allied activities, and restoration of environment among other things.