Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yedyurappa cabinet has not cleared mining in reserve forests, claims Acharya

Notification for De Reserving was done by SM Krishna cabinet is 2003 !

Bangalore, Feb 22:Karnataka’s home minister Dr V S Acharya has clarified that the BJP government in the state has ``not allowed mining in the reserved forest areas of Bellary, Shimoga and Mysore district’’

Dr Acharya, who is a close confidant of the chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, on Monday made it clear that the state cabinet’s decision on Saturday pertained to allowing ``mining in the 14 blocks of the three districts, subject to certain conditions.’’ But, he asserted that mining had been permitted ``only in de-reserved forest areas of three districts.’’ "Our government will never allow mining in reserve or other forest areas. We know the importance of green cover, environment and forests,’’he said. He explained that the decision for issuing the denotification on dereserving the blocks was taken by the previous Congress-led S M Krishna government. The notification to ``de-reserve the 14 blocks in the reserve forests was issued in 2003.“ The then government had received 1,400 applications for mining operations and had taken the decision to dereserve the 14 blocks in the three districts. However, the then Congress government’s decision was challenged in the Karnataka High Court. Later, the high court upheld the government’s decision, Dr Acharya said. The cabinet has decided to permit mining on 11,620 sq km in three districts only after consultation with the Forest and Industries Department, the minister explained. Mining has been permitted only for value addition and creation of jobs. The decision is in tune with the state’s mining policy, he added. The government was committed for the exploitation of the mineral wealth and there was abundance of minerals in 14 blocks of three districts. Now, the Government would receive the royalty of Rs 110 per tonne of minerals against meagre Rs 22 earlier.

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