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Supreme Court Orders comprehensive examination of Mines in Karnataka Districts to Address Environmental Concerns

Supreme Court of India

Last Updated on March 31, 2024 by News Desk

The Supreme Court has ordered the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in Karnataka to conduct a comprehensive examination and survey of Category A/B/C mines in Bellary, Chitradurga, and Tumkur, including mines for which rehabilitation and reclamation (R&R) plans have not been submitted or approved.

Justices Sanjiv Khanna, MM Sundresh, and Bela M Trivedi demanded a detailed report from the PCCF, stating that the R&R plans should be implemented by KMERC or another agency. The costs for these plans will be recovered from former leaseholders of the respective mines.

The Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC), in collaboration with the Monitoring Committee and Oversight Authority, was also tasked with conducting a thorough assessment in the three districts and submitting a report within four months.

The CEC is authorised to seek assistance from scientific experts to analyse environmental pollution data in the districts. The CEC will also evaluate whether there is a need to impose a mining cap in specific areas and consider the potential implementation of systems like e-auctioning for the sale of mined materials. Satellite mapping for each mine will also be assessed.

The petitioner, Samaj Parivartana Samudhaya, approached the Court due to concerns about illegal mining activities in Bellary, Chitradurga, and Tumkur districts of Karnataka and the resulting environmental damage.

In response, the Supreme Court temporarily halted mining in these districts on July 29 and August 26, 2011, based on a CEC report.

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