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Kudremukh Iron Ore plea to continue mining rejected



Legal Correspondent

Court asks Centre to take over Karnataka mines

Operations stopped for adverse effect on eco systemSelect agency to reanalyse stability of slopes

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to take immediate possession of the Kudremukh iron ore mines in Karnataka, following the stoppage of operations there in the wake of an adverse effect on the environment and eco system.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia asked it to select an agency in a global competitive bid for reanalysing the stability of the slopes in the mines and to draw up a closure plan as per the report submitted by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in April.

The Bench rejected an application filed by Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL) seeking permission to allow mining operations until after about 20 million tonnes of ore was exhausted, as it would fetch over Rs. 300 crore.

IIT officer for survey

The court asked the Ministry of Mines to designate an officer to take possession of the mines immediately.

It asked the IIT to depute a team of experts for surveying the mines and the surrounding area, and submit a report on any immediate step required to be taken during the interregnum, till the appointment of the expert agency.

Detailed terms

The IIT could ask the designated officer to take necessary steps on an urgent basis.

Writing the judgment, Justice Pasayat said the IIT-Delhi shall draw up detailed terms for the work to be done, consistent with the basic paradigm of "no or minimal disturbance to the unbroken area" and submit a report within four weeks for further directions.

Expenditure

The Bench said the expenditure for inviting global competitive bids and evaluation such as on advertisement might initially be met out of Rs. 19 crore deposited by the KIOCL.

If any funds were required in excess, the agency or the designated officer should get court directions.

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