Supreme Court pats Karnataka, raises iron ore mining cap in 3 districts to 15MMT | India News

Supreme Court pats Karnataka, raises iron ore mining cap in 3 districts to 15MMT | India News


NEW DELHI: In a relief to the steel industry facing shortage of raw material, the Supreme Court on Friday permitted 15 million metric ton (MMT) increase in iron ore extraction from Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga while appreciating the good work done by Karnataka to preserve ecology and environment.
Though the SC’s environment panel, Central Empowered Committee (CEC), recommended lifting of all restrictions on mining while pointing out cessation of illegal mining and ameliorative measures taken by the state government for protection of environment and ecology, a bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Hima Kohli and C T Ravikumar decided to tread cautiously, heeding to advocate Prashant Bhushan’s warnings about possible resumption of illegal mining.
The bench said though the SC had in the past always fully accepted CEC’s recommendations, “the situation merits a cautious approach, keeping in view the concerns raised and to ensure that any change in the situation with respect to the mining activity in Karnataka is brought about gradually”. “We are of the opinion that the ceiling limit of iron ore mining may be raised from 28 MMT to 35 MMT for district Bellary, and from 7 MMT to 15 MMT for Chitradurga and Tumkur districts collectively,” it said.
The bench said the conservation of ecology and environment must go hand in hand with the spirit of economic development and it has endeavoured to strike a fine balance between the two goals.
Appearing for mine lease holders, senior advocate Dushyant Dave had argued that because of SC intervention all illegal mining in the area has been halted and several ameliorative measures have been taken for the improvement of the environment and ecology of the region. He argued that present mining lease holders, who are complying with laws, are being penalized for the illegalities that were committed a decade ago.


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