Sunday, May 4, 2014

More than just filling the holes: New story in Karnataka’s mining sector

As per Supreme Court’s directions, Karnataka government is about to set up a company to formulate and implement projects under Comprehensive Environment Plan for Mining Impact Zone.

As per business standard report,
“This company will be in existence for the next 30 years and spend at least Rs 30,000 crore for repairing the damage done by mining to the environment in the three districts of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur” - BS
It is interesting to note that government is spending huge amount of money to solve a problem which was created by government’s lack of strict enforcement of forest laws in the first place. Illegal mining, tax evasion, pollution by mining industry already put a heavy toll on Karnataka’s ecology and exchequer. More over who will foot the cost for such a big project?
“The payments received by the monitoring committee under different heads such as compensation payable for Category-B mining leases, sale proceeds of the existing stock of Category-C mining leases, 15 per cent of the sale proceeds of the existing stock of Category-B mining leases, 10 per cent of the sale proceeds of the existing stock of Category-A mining leases and 10 per cent of the sale proceeds of both Category-A and B leases after resumption of mining operations will be transferred to the company. The total amount so far collected amounts to nearly Rs 4,000 crore” - BS
Will the money raised through selling mining leases, royalty payments etc. is enough for such ambitious recovery projects? Why the company is to be headed by so many government secretaries (who are already overwhelmed by other works) instead of appointing some professionals to run it?

Moreover, if government is still reluctant to enforce environment laws in mining areas; industry dont like to think about environment and focus only on extraction; opening sensitive areas of Western Ghats to mining etc. then SC order and setting up a company will not contribute an iota to ecological problems.

It’s good to see some positive movement, but… I still have my own doubts…



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