Thursday, December 15, 2011

Claim for Commons: Karnataka: Samaj Parivartana Samudaya Submission-II regarding the visit of the CEC to Chitradurga and Tumkur Districts


                                                                                                       August 12, 2011
From                                                                                                          
Samaj Parivartana Samudaya (SPS)
“Ashadeep”, Jayanagar Cross, Saptapur,
Dharwad 580 001, Karnataka

To
The Central Empowered Committee
[Constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India]
Chanakya Bhavan, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi

Sub: SPS Submission-II regarding the visit of the CEC to Chitradurga and Tumkur Districts

Ref:      1.SPS Submission-I to CEC dt 04.08.2011

2. Order dated 29-7-2011 in the matter of Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) Nos. 7355-         7367/2010 and WP No. 562/2009 directing the CEC to submit a Report on Environment Impact Assessment on account of mining in Tumkur and Chitradurga Districts within a period of three weeks.

3. The Judgment dated 28.01.2011 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No.1132/2011@SLP(C) No.3109/2011 (Arising of Special Leave Petition (Civil) CC No.19869 of 2010) : Jagpal Singh & Ors v/s State of Punjab and others.

4.Two documents of forest department, namely (i) Status of mining report inside the reserve forest, faulty notified sec-4 area and in revenue area( 29 pages) and (ii) Tumkur Forest Division (T) : Faulty notified Sec-4area in Janehar Block Survey No 41, 42 & 43 Chikkanayakanhalli Range, Notification No. AHFF.205-FAF-88 Bangalore, 4th Aug 1994

At the outset, we, the petitioners in WP No. 562/2009 thank you immensely for undertaking the field visit to the districts of Chitradurga and Tumkur from 7th to the 10th August 2011, to see at first hand the adverse impact mining activity has had on the environment in these two districts. We also thank you for giving us an opportunity to be a part of this field visit.

 Further to our Submission-I dt.04.08.2011, along with copies of our IA No 17 &18 and 21  including Karnataka Lokayukta Report(Part-II) dt 27.07.2011 and after completing the field visit and on the basis of further information and some important documents that we have received (Ref 3 &4), we would like to make the following submissions for your consideration:

(1)   Non-maintenance of boundary pillars by lease holders: It is our observation that several of the mining lease holders (M/s Lakshminarasimha Mines and Allam Veerbhadrappa Mines for instance) do not maintain boundary pillars as is statutorily required. This was evident during the field visit. By the simple expedient of doing away with boundary pillars, the lease holders take the liberty of encroaching on adjacent forest as well as revenue lands. The encroachment has been for dumping overburden as well as for extraction of minerals. Details of encroachments regarding Tumkur district are included as Annexure A in our IA dated July 2011 submitted to the Hon’ble Supreme Court. We urge the CEC to recommend that the mining leases of such lease holders be cancelled forthright as the practice of not maintaining boundary posts is motivated by malafide intentions.

(2)   Unsustainable, irrational production permits issued by IBM: The Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) is the body that approves the mining plans and fixes the annual production limits of different mine lease holders. During the visit, it is brought to our attention that the IBM has been fixing the annual production limits without application of mind. Unscientific enhancement of annual production limits has led to unsustainable mining practices. For instance, M/s Lakshminarasimha mines, a small lease holder with just 7.85 Ha of land was producing 15000 Metric Tons per Annum (MTPA) until recently. This has been enhanced to 700,000 MTPA, a rate of extraction that is unsustainable in a small mine. The high production limits are used to camouflage ore illegally extracted from surrounding lands and passing it off as that extracted ore from the lease area. Illegal extraction/ dumping of overburden was evident in M/s Lakshminarasimha mines. Another instance is of M/s John Mines, which has been permitted to extract 1.5 million MTPA as against an available reserve of just 11 million tons. At this rate of extraction, the mineral reserves in M/s John Mines would be spent in 7-8 years. As a result of an such an unsustainable rate of mineral extraction hardly any reclamation activity is seen in any of the mines. Many of these mines have been in operation for several decades, but there is little to show in terms of reclaimed land. We urge the CEC to ensure that the IBM works with discretion and independence as is expected of an independent scientific body and does not become a hand maiden of unscrupulous mining lease holders.

(3)  Very Serious irregularities and illegalities in M/s. Mata Minerals mines (Tumkur Dist):  This is a very important case where there are not only serious irregularities and illegalities but also serious violations of the significant judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dt. 28.01.2011 in Civil Appeal No.1132/2011@SLP(C) No.3109/2011 (Arising of Special Leave Petition (Civil) CC No.19869 of 2010) : Jagpal Singh & Ors v/s State of Punjab and others (Ref No 3) and suspected undue influence of a political leader ( V.Somanna) who was until recently District incharge Minister for Tumkur and who happens to be the father of the Managing Director ( B S Arun) of Mata Minerals. The documents included in the IA No.17&18 and the Karnataka Lokayukta Report (Part-II) dt.27.07.2011( Chapter 20 which exclusively deals with illegal mining by this company)in the IA No 21  in WP No 562/2009 filed in Supreme Court by the SPS, especially the Final Order No.87/2009 of the Mines Tribunal.dt.18.08.2009 which is a very blatant violations of MMRD Act and their encroachment of 37.30 acres of Gomal land in flagrant violation of the SC Judgement referred above. This is a very serious case of the abuse of power by V.Somanna very similar to that by Gali Janardhan Reddy who was until recently the District incharge minister for Bellary. This is very obvious from the Proceedings dt 11.06.2011 (pages 26&27 of the IA No. 17&18 in WP No.562/2009) and the undue dealy of well more than a year by the Secretary, Mines (B.S.Ramprasad)-who should have taken the final decision within 3 months as ordered bt the Mines Tribunal dt 18.08.2009- to take decision regarding the cancellation of the Lease of M/S Matha minerals  as the transfer order was set aside. Very similar to this case, there has also been the undue influence of Sri Anil Lad, MP of the Canara Minerals Pvt Ltd.in successfully getting the lease renewed against the letter and spirit of the MMRD Act as clearly indicated in the letter of the Commissioner and Director Mines an Geology dt.11.08.2005 (pages 36&37 of IA no 17 &18 in WP 562//2009)

(4) Use of Patta lands by mine lease holders: During the site visit, it became evident that many mines lease holders such as M/s Sesa Goa are in the habit of securing patta lands from local farmers on 99-year leases for the payment of paltry sums such as Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 per acre. Such lands could be also granted land. In such cases no applications have been submitted for conversion of land use. Such land has been used for storage of minerals. Such activities are violative of MMRD Act, 1956 as also the Karnataka Land Revenue Act. When a large listed entity with international investors as M/s Sesa Goa indulges in such practices, what of other smaller entities living outside the regulatory regimes applicable for listed entities? We urge the CEC to ensure that such pernicious activities are ended by taking stern action against those who are using patta lands for various mining-related activities including the maintenance of stock yards.

(5) Cancellation of all permits to mine along the common boundary: Several mines are said to have permits to carry out mining along their common boundaries. One such instance is that of M/s Deepchand Kishanlal and M/s Tumkur Minerals. During the visit, it emerged that the two entities in question may not have had a common boundary at all as per their original lease sketches. The so called “common boundary” has been used as a ruse to encroach unallotted no-man’s land in the space between the two lease hold areas. This is very similar to the situation created between M/s BIOP and M/s OMC-I, wherein the permission to mine along the common boundary led to the encroachment of 10 acres of unallotted land and subsequently to charges of encroachment. The bitter disputes have resulted in the cessation of all mining activity for at least over a year. It is our suggestion to the CEC that they ensure that permission to work the common boundary should be given to the “rarest of rare cases” and as a general rule such permissions should never be given.

(6)  A joint survey of the mining leases in Tumkur and Chitradurga districts: Many lease holders such as M/s Balaji Produce Co. and many others (see para 1 above) have indulged in large scale encroachment of forest and revenue lands. M/s Balaji Produce has encroached 11 acres, way beyond its original boundaries for a variety of violations. To set right these illegalities, it is necessary to have a joint survey as was ordered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of the 99 mining leases in Bellary district. The joint survey team constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court was also empowered to suspend mining operations immediately on the detection of violations. We urge the CEC to recommend that the same empowered team be invested with the task of surveying the mining lease areas in Chitradurga and Tumkur districts for (i) fixing the lease areas on the ground and (ii) for suspending the mining operations of lease holders who are in violation of the lease conditions.

(7) Approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA) for all leases wholly or partly in forest areas: It is observed that several mining lease areas extend over revenue as well as forest lands. In such instances, the lease holder does not seek approvals under the FCA and merrily carries on mining operations. Such pernicious practices have to be ended. The whole lease area constitutes a single entity and no work plan should be approved unless clearances under the FCA are obtained.

(8)   Discontinue the practice of working mines under a “working permission”: M/s G. Rajashekar Mines has no valid mining lease, the lease having expired in 2005. However, mining activities are continuing under a so called “working permission” issued by the Department of Mines & Geology, on an annual basis. This practice has to be immediately stopped. This practice amounts to mining without a valid lease. We urge the CEC to prepare a list of all such cases and take punitive action against the lease holders and those who issued such permits.

(9)   Withdrawing permission for private stock yards: There is no provision for the establishment of private stock yards as such yards become places for the accumulation of illegally extracted ore. We request the CEC to recommend the immediate closure of all private stock yards. The Karnataka Govt has issued rules dt.01.04.2011 which needs to be critically examined as it tends to regularizes such illegal practices.

\     We request the CEC, in view the widespread irregularities and illegalities noticed during the visit in Aug 07 to 10 , 2011 and to bring illegal mining  to a grinding halt, to kindly recommend the same kind of stringent steps / procedures for Chitradurg and Tumkur for the suspension of mining and transport operations as in Bellary.


Thanking you,
Yours truly,


S.R. Hiremath                                                                          P. Vishnu Kamath


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