New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to probe illegal mining in the Bellary-Hospet region of Karnataka after lawyer Prashant Bhushan mentioned the matter before the court’s forest bench.
The report is to be submitted to the court in 6 weeks, implying that the CEC will be visiting the region shortly. The court also extended the tenure of the CEC indefinitely since the body was earlier appointed only till 20 February 2011.
Bellary contains several high-grade iron ore deposits and has some of the largest mining companies operating in the region.
On 8 January, the CEC submitted a report to the court recommending the cancellation of six iron ore mining leases in Andhra Pradesh’s Anathpur district, including three owned by Karnataka minister and Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Gali Janardhan Reddy and his brothers through the Obalapuram Mining Co. Pvt Ltd (OMC).
The Andhra Pradesh report also said exemplary costs should be imposed on OMC, Bellary Iron Ore Pvt. Ltd, Y Mahabaleshwarappa and Sons and Anantapur Mining Corp. for violating forest laws.