cec report on mining leases in bellary forestland 15 04 11 1 by 89hk19S

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									CENTRAL EMPOWERED COMMITTEE

REPORT (I) OF THE CEC IN WRIT PETITION
(CIVIL) NO. 562 IF 2009 FILED BY SAMAJ
PARIVARTANA SAMUDAYA AND OTHERS

                      REGARDING

FIFTEEN MINING LEASES ILLEGALLY GRANTED
/ BEING CONSIDERED FOR GRANT IN
RAMGARH FOREST BLOCKLAND SWAMIMALAI
FOREST BLOCK IN SANDUR RANGE, BELLARY
FOREST DIVISION



     The forest area of erstwhile Sandur State ( presently

part of Sandur Range in Bellary Forest Division), were

governed under the provisions of the Sandur Forest Act,

1937 as amended on 5th April, 1943. A copy of the said Act

is enclosed at ANNEXURE- R-1 to this Report. Under

Section 3 (1) of the said Act any land at the disposal of the

Sarkar may be notified as “ Village Forest”. Under Section 2

(11) of the said Act all land at the disposal of Sarkar and

which have neither been notified as “Village Forest” nor

assigned under Huzur sanction for any public or communal

purpose will be the State Forest (equivalent to reserved

forest). Under Section 2 (8) the land “ at the disposal of

Sarkar” means land in respect of which no person has

acquired (a) a permanent, heritable and transferable right of

use and   occupancy or (b) any right created by grant or
                                                              2




lease made or continued by or on behalf of Sarkar. From

the above it may be seen that all land falling in the erstwhile

Sandur State fell in the category of “Forest” except the land

(a) under grant/lease and (b) with a permanent heritable and

transferable right of use and occupancy.


2.    The Sandur Administration Report for the year 1943-44

(enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-2 to this Report) states that in

the erstwhile Sandur State out of the total forest area of

75619 acres an area of 70,000 acres was reserved forest

(State Forest) while the remaining 5,619 acres was village

forest. The letter dated 24th June, 1949 of the Chief Forest

Officer of the erstwhile Sandur State addressed to the

District Forest Officer, Bellary Division, Bellary (enclosed at

ANNEXURE-R-3 to this Report) states that the total forest

area in the State was 125 sq. miles (about 80,000 acres) out

of which 117 sq. miles was Reserved Forest (State Forest)

while the remaining 8 sq. miles was village forest. The

Mysore State Gazetteer also indicates that as in 1969-70, an

area of 75,520 acres of land fall in the category of unclassed

forest in the Sandur Range (enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-4) to

this Report.


3.    The erstwhile Sandur State, in terms of the merger

agreement dated 1st April, 1949 between the Government of

India and the Raja of Sandur State, merged in India. The
                                                            3




merger Agreement inter alia conferred on the Raja of Sandur

State exclusive ownership of certain assets and property,

including the Royal Rest House and its appurtenal land

situated in Ramgarh area.      A copy of the said Merger

Agreement along with the details of the property allowed to

be retained by the Raja of Sandur State is enclosed at

ANNEXURE-R-5 to this Report.


4.   The ruler of erstwhile Sandur State did not wish to

have any further interest or rights in these forest areas. He

therefore vide letter dated 24th September, 1973 addressed

to the then Chief Minister of Mysore (enclosed at

ANNEXURE-R-6       to   this   Report)   asked   the   State

Government to take over the forest land in his possession.

Accordingly, after survey, 2395.40 acres of forest land in RM

Block in Ramgarh area (along with 1656 acres in SM Block)

was handed over by the ex-Ruler of Sandur and taken over

on 27.9.1980 by the State Government. A copy of the

Possession Certificate is enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-7 to

this Report and the copy of the sketch of the area handed

over / taken over is enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-8 to this

Report. It is seen that (a) the entire area handed over was

stated to be forest area and that 68.30 acres of area of

Palace property and its surrounding area belonging to the
                                                                4




Palace (shown in the map as Part A and Part B) was

retained by the ruler of the erstwhile Sandur State.


5.     An area of 30561.95 hectares in four forest blocks in

Sandur Range of Bellary Forest Division, have been notified

under Section 4 of the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 as below:


1.    R.M. Block 7769.85 ha.          1) Notified U/s 4 of KFA
      Ramanmalai                      1963      vide Notification
      Block)                          No.FFD-29-FAF-84
                                      dated 28.2.1985
2.    S.M. Block  6993.12 ha.         2) 1) Notified U/s 4 of
      (Swamimalai                     KFA 1963               vide
      Block)                          Notification No.FFD-29-
                                      FAF-84 dated 28.2.1985
3.    D.M. Block    6733.98 ha.       3) Notified U/s 4 of KFA
      (Donamalai                      1963      vide Notification
      Block)                          No.FFD-29-FAF-84
                                      dated 28.2.1985
4.    N.E. Block    9065.00 ha.       4) Notified U/s 4 of KFA
      (North-                         1963      vide Notification
      Eastern                         No.FFD-29-FAF-84
      Block)                          dated 28.2.1985
      Total         30561.95 ha.


6.     The above area corresponds to the State Forest /

Village Forest, earlier managed under the Sandur Forest

Act, 1937 and even otherwise falls in the category of ‘forest’

for   the   purposes   of   the   Section   2   of   the   Forest

(Conservation) Act, 1980. A copy of the Gazette of the R.M.

Block, reportedly not available, has in 2009 been reprinted in

the Gazette. A copy of the same is enclosed at ANNEXURE-

R-9 to this Report. The map showing the area notified under

Section 4 is said to be not readily available. However from
                                                            5




the details of the areas notified under Section 4 of the

Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 and the status of mutation of

forest land maintained by the Working Plan Division of the

Karnataka Forest Department (enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-

10 and ANNEXURE-R-11 respectively to this Report) it is

seen that in respect of the above mentioned four forest

blocks no survey numbers have been assigned and are

noted as Pymasi area in the revenue records. Out of

30561.95 hectares of forest areas of above said four forest

blocks, an area of 30,086.51 hectares has been mutated in

favour of the Forest Department while 475.44 acres of forest

land in Doni Malai Block has not been mutated in favour of

the Forest Department. Thus, in so far as the status of these

areas being ‘forest’ is concerned, there has been no

difference between the Forest Department and the Revenue

Department.


7.   A number of mining leases have been sanctioned and

sale / purchase of land have been allowed in Ramgarh area

and which was supposedly survey No. 1 to 35 in Ramgarh

Village. This issue was taken up by the Lokayukta,

Karnataka, following which the Deputy Commissioner,

Bellary sent a Report dated 28.4.2008 addressed to the

Principal Secretary (Revenue), Government of Karnataka

(English translation as provided by the State of Karnataka is
                                                               6




enclosed as ANNEXURE-R-12 to this Report). It has been

stated in the said Report that the work of survey and

settlement of Ramgarh village was carried out during 1903.

As per the said survey only Survey No. 1 to 4 (four survey

numbers) having an area of 9.0 acres exist in village

Ramgarh.     Thereafter     no   revenue   survey    has   been

undertaken under Section 106 of the Karnataka Land

Revenue Act. It has been concluded by the Deputy

Commissioner, Bellary that


     (i)     only Survey Nos. 1 to 4 in Ramgarh Village are

             authentic and the remaining survey numbers are

             un-authentic since (a) there are no sketches

             prepared by Survey and Settlement, FMB or

             Akarband and (b) there are no mutations or

             documents for the records made in the Pahanis;


      (ii)   since Ramgarh is an unsurveyed village, there is

             glaring ambiguity as to the land holdings of the

             said land; and

     (iii)   regarding the validity of the survey numbers

             created unofficially there is a need for taking up a

             fresh survey work under Section 106 of the Land

             Revenue Act.
                                                             7




8.    Large tracts of areas in Karnataka were reserved for

mining for the Government / public sector undertakings. The

Government of Karnataka in 2003 decided to de-reserve

large chunks of such areas, including forest areas, for mining

by private persons. Thereafter, the State of Karnataka vide

notification dated 15.3.2003 invited applications from the

public for grant of mining leases. This included Block

No.13/1 having an area of 1683 hectares in and around

Ramgarh. The Government of Karnataka vide notification

dated 27th March, 2008 (enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-13 to

this Report) excluded 93.18 hectares of area from the said

notification on the purported ground that these areas are

Patta land belonging to 37 pattadars. A number of mining

leases in this area have been illegally granted by treating

these areas as non-forest areas (dealt with in subsequent

paragraphs). Subsequently, vide recent notification dated

19.3.2011 (enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-14 to this Report),

the earlier notification dated 27.3.2008 has been withdrawn

stating that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that

these 93.18 hectares of land in Ramgarh village are non-

forest lands.


9.    A related development is that the Forest Settlement

Officer, Bellary vide proceedings dated 24.5.2010 has

passed an order to exclude 265 acres of land in Ramgarh
                                                             8




Block from the reserved forest area on the purported ground

that the area comprised of private, village, temple, churches,

roads and old building (enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-15 to this

Report). A number of mining leases have been sanctioned in

the same area. The above decision has been taken by the

Forest Settlement Officer notwithstanding the fact that (a)

the map showing the areas notified under Section 4 of the

Karnataka Forest Act in Ramgarh Block is not readily

available and therefore it is not clear whether the areas

excluded by the FSO were actually part of the notified area

at all or not. (b) the Deputy Commissioner, Bellary in his

report dated 28.4.2008 has stated that the Survey No. 5 to

35 are un-authentic survey numbers and (c) the excluded

areas were otherwise also ‘forest’ for the purposes of the FC

Act. The Karnataka Forest Department has on 23.8.2010,

against the above said order of the FSO, filed an appeal

before the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal, under Section 16 of

the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 (enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-

16 to this Report). The Principal Secretary (Forest),

Government of Karnataka in Office Note dated 15.3.2011

(enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-17 to this Report) has also

made adverse observations regarding the order passed by

the FSO and that the mining leases cannot be granted in

violation of the FC Act.
                                                             9




10.   From the above it may be seen that


      (a)   the entire area of Ramgarh Block is a forest land

            and no mining lease in this area can be / should

            have been granted without obtaining approval

            under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;


      (b)   these areas were forest for the purpose of FC

            Act even before the issue of Notification under

            Section 4 of the Karnataka Forest Act;


      (c)   exclusion, by the FSO in May, 2010, of 265 acres

            of area in Ramgarh Block from the Reserved

            Forest has no bearing on the applicability of the

            FC Act. These areas continue to be ‘forest’ for

            the purpose of FC Act till these areas are deleted

            from the ‘forest’ after obtaining approval under

            the FC Act;


      (d)   in Ramgarh village only Survey Nos. 1 to 4 are

            authentic. Survey No. 5 to 35, which have been

            informally created, are unauthentic. In any case,

            validity or otherwise of these survey numbers do

            not change the legal status of these areas being

            ‘forest’;
                                                            10




      (e) since these areas were, till 15.3.2003, reserved for

           mining by the Government / public sector

           undertakings, till then no mining lease in these

           areas were permitted to be granted in favour of

           private persons. Thereafter, once these areas

           were notified for grant of mining lease and

           applications from the public for the same were

           invited, individual cases for grant of mining

           leases could not have been considered /

           accepted without completion of the process and

           without considering all the Applications.


11.   The following six mining leases have been granted

(and three more were under process), in blatant violation of

the above stated legal position, in Ramgarh forest block:


Sl.No M.L.N      Name of      Exten    Date of
.     o.         the          t        Executio
                 Lessee       (Hect)   n
1.     2621      Shri Ram     28.33    4.2.2010
                 Rao     M.
                 Poal
2.     2369      M/s          2.91     26.7.2002
                 Adarsha
                 Enterprise
                 s
3.     2173      Shri J.M.    3.29     24.8.1993
                 Vrush-
                 bhendraia
                 h
4.     2567      M/s          4.86     19.12.200
                 Sparkline             7
                 Mining
                 Corporatio
                 n
                                                          11




5.     2646     M/s Shiva     19.22   30.8.2010
                Vilas Trust
6.              Shri J.M.      14.12.200 Mining
                              3.36
                Vrush-         7         lease deed
                bhendraia                not       yet
                h                        executed
7.     -        Jai     23.48 -          NOC
                Santoshi(areas           issued by
                Matha   )                DC, Bellary
                Mining                   on
                Enterprise               19.11.2004
                s                        stating that
                                         it is a non-
                                         forest land
8      -        D.      14.59 -          GOI
                Ramesh  (acres           approved
                        )                grant      of
                                         mining
                                         lease     on
                                         3.6.2006.
                                         The
                                         applicant
                                         requested
                                         the land to
                                         be treated
                                         as     forest
                                         land.
9.     -        M/s VSL 9.90   -         9.90 acres
                Mining  (acres           granted by
                Co.     )                Tehsildar,
                                         Sandur in
                                         favour of
                                         Mr. Anil H.
                                         Lad      and
                                         Ashok H.
                                         Lad
                                         during1989
                                         .       Land
                                         used      for
                                         storing iron
                                         ore      and
                                         beneficiatio
                                         n plant.



12.   In addition, following the six mining leases have been

granted/ under process in Swami Malai Forest Block:
                                                       12




Sl. Status Name of the M.L.      Extent
No. M.L.   holder                in       Remarks
    No.                          acres
1.  2259   M/s Karthikeshwar     67.30    NOC by DC,
           Mining and Iron Ore            Bellary      on
           Company, Pvt. Ltd.,            11.10.2004
           Sandur                         stating it is
                                          non-forest.
                                          Falls in de-
                                          reserved block
                                          No.17.
                                          Director, Mines
                                          recommended
                                          for grant as
                                          sole applicant
                                          while       212
                                          applications
                                          were received.
2.          M/s Sri A. Arogayya 88.00     NOC by DC,
            Das, Bellary                  Bellary      on
                                          5.4.2005.
                                          Falls         in
                                          dereserved
                                          block     No.17.
                                          Mining lease
                                          not          yet
                                          granted.
3.          M/s Sri A. Arogayya 15.00     NOC issued by
            Das, Bellary                  DC, Bellary on
                                          5.4.2005 that it
                                          is    non-forest
                                          land. Part of
                                          de-reserved
                                          block     No.17.
                                          Mining lease
                                          has not so far
                                          been granted.
                                          The      Deputy
                                          Director,
                                          Mining,
                                          Hospet,
                                          furnished
                                          technical
                                          report.
4.          Sri G.    Praveen 60.00       NOC issued by
            Kumar Nikkam                  DC, Bellalry on
                                          30.12.2004
                                          stating it is
                                                       13




                                          non-forest
                                          land. Falls in
                                          de-reserved
                                          block No. 17.
                                          Director Mines
                                          recommended
                                          for grant of
                                          mining lease
                                          on 27.6.2008
                                          stating he is
                                          sole applicant
                                          while       212
                                          applications
                                          were received.
                                          Mining lease
                                          not          yet
                                          granted.
5.           Sri. B. Rudragowda   16.00   Falls in de-
                                          reserved block
                                          No.17      NOC
                                          granted       by
                                          Tehsildar but
                                          rejected by DC
                                          vide      order
                                          dated
                                          1.8.2009.
                                          Mining Lease
                                          not          yet
                                          granted.
6.           M/s Mithra Mineral 12.35     NOC granted
             Enterprises                  by DC, Bellary.
                                          Director Mines
                                          recommended
                                          for grant on
                                          27.3.2008.
                                          Falls in de-
                                          reserved block
                                          No.17. Mining
                                          lease not yet
                                          granted.



13   The details of each of the above said 15 cases

received from the Karnataka Mines Department are given at

ANNEXURE-R-18 to this Report. In addition, the Deputy
                                                             14




Conservator of Forest, Bellary Circle has on 1.9.2005

granted NOC for mining lease over 729.00 acres of forest

land falling in the NE Block, in favour of M/s Balaji Mines and

Minerals. This was subsequently vide order dated 9.7.2008

withdrawn by the Conservator of Forest, Bellary Circle

(enclosed at    ANNEXURE-R-19 and ANNEXURE-R-20

respectively). The CEC has never come across any case

where, in spite of the forest area being notified as reserved

forest, the DFO / Dy. CF has certified it as non-forest land on

the basis of the Survey of India topo sheet. The Conservator

of Forest, Bellary Circle through a series of orders issued in

2008 has withdrawn the NOCs issued by the Range Forest

Officer and the order issued by the Deputy Conservator of

Forest, Bellary stating that these are forest lands and were

wrongly certified to be non-forest lands.


14.   The details given above by the Karnataka Mines

Department shows that the mining leases were granted /

under process for grant on the basis of No Objection

Certificate issued by the then Deputy Commissioner, Bellary

on the ground that the area applied for mining lease is a

non-forest land. These NOCs were issued by the then

Deputy Commissioner, Bellary without obtaining a report

from the concerned Divisional Forest Officer something that

was mandatory and Reports were accordingly sought from
                                                            15




the Divisional Forest Officer. A statement showing the details

of grant of NOCs and subsequent cancellation of the same

by the Conservator of Forest, Bellary Circle is enclosed at

ANNEXURE-R-21 to this Report.           Further, the Deputy

Conservator of Forest, Bellary vide letter dated 31.7.2010

had withdrawn all the NOCs granted earlier by the Forest

Department. Thereafter, taking note of the orders of

Conservator   of   Forests   dated   9.5.2008   and   Deputy

Conservator of Forest, Bellary letters dated 31.7.2010, the

Deputy Commissioner, Bellary vide letter dated 23.3.2011

has withdrawn all the NOCs earlier issued by his

predecessor. A statement showing the details of the NOCs

withdrawn by the Deputy Conservator of Forest, Bellary and

thereafter by the Deputy Commissioner, Bellary alongwith

one representative order is enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-22

(Colly) to this Report. Copies of the notices issued by the

Mines Department between 19th March, to 22nd March, 2011

to stop the mining activities are collectively enclosed at

ANNEXURE-R-23 to this Report.


15.   Copies of various letters written by the concerned

officers of the Forest Department regarding the proceedings

dated 24.5.2010 of the FSO, Bellary and illegal mining in

Ramgarh block are collectively enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-

24 (Colly) to this Report. A copy of the letter dated March,
                                                             16




2011 of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Karnataka

Forest Department addressed to the Principal Secretary

(Forest), Government of Karnataka regarding action against

the forest officers for giving the false NOCs as non forest

land is enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-25 to this Report. A copy

of the letter dated 21.11.2007 of Dy. Conservator of Forest,

Bellary, dealt with in the above said letter of the PCCF,

Karnataka Forest Department is enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-

26 to this Report.


16.   During the site visit, the Deputy Commissioner, Bellary

provided copies of the satellite imageries in respect of

mining lease areas of (a) Ram Rao M. Poal (b) Adarsha

Enterprises, and (c) Sparkling Mining Corporation and which

show the status of the area before the mining was

undertaken and thereafter. These satellite imageries,

collectively enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-27 to this Report,

vividly brings out the fact that these mining lease areas were

having dense to moderately dense forest cover (in addition

to being legally ‘forest’) and which has been ruthlessly

destroyed after mining.


17.   On a specific issue raised by the CEC about the

number of trees existing in the area and the authority who

permitted the felling of trees, the details of the forest cover

and the number of trees in the various mining lease areas
                                                               17




have been provided by the Karnataka Mining Department

and is enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-28 to this Report. This

Report, based on the satellite imageries, clearly brings out

the fact that the areas, wherein mining leases have been

granted in Ramgarh forest block were having forest cover

with density between 100% to 60% and that a huge number

of trees have been felled in these areas. No approval for the

same was obtained / granted.


18.   The above said details provided by the Karnataka

Forest Department and the Mining Department and as

verified during the site visit by the CEC, clearly brings out the

following glaring illegalities and gross irregularities in respect

of grant of mining leases in Ramgarh Block and also in

Swami Malai Block:


      i)    It is pertinent to mention that all the NOCs

            illegally granted in the past have now been

            withdrawn/cancelled (a representative withdrawal

            order is enclosed as ANNEXURE-R-30 and that

            the Forest Department, the Mines Department

            and    the   Revenue     Department      have    now

            unequivocally taken the stand that these NOCs

            were wrongly / falsely granted and that these

            areas are forest land;
                                                       18




ii)    Mr.   P.   Rajashekhar    ,   the   then   Deputy

       Conservator of Forest, Bellary Division, vide

       letter dated 21.11.2007 falsely took the stand

       that the mining leases of M/s Karkethian

       Manganese and Iron Ore (Pvt) Ltd was a non-

       forest land (refer Annexure 26 and Annexure 25

       of this Report). Mr. M.K. Shukla, the then Deputy

       Conservator of Forest, Bellary Division had

       issued a false NOC dated 1.9.2005 stating the

       mining lease area of M/s Balaji was a non-forest

       land (refer Annexure R-19 and Annexure R-20 of

       this Report). Mr. Thippeswamy, the then Range

       Forest Officer, Sandur Range issued false NOC

       at least in five cases (refer Annexure R-25 of this

       Report) stating that the concerned mining lease

       areas are non-forest land. The details in respect

       of the other officers of the Revenue Department

       and Forest Department for issuing false NOCs

       also should be ascertained and exemplary

       deterrent action needs to be taken against all

       the officers involved in issuing false NOCs;


iii)   There are serious illegalities and irregularities

       committed in grant of these mining lease (the

       only exception may be grant of mining lease in
                                                             19




             favour of M/s Shiva Vilas Trust, which is located

             on the land held by the erstwhile Ruler of Sandur

             State).



19.   The details provided by the State of Karnataka (Refer

Annexure R-18 of this Report) brings out the following

serious illegalities / irregularities:


      (a)    There are serious illegalities / irregularities in

             respect of the mining lease of M/s Ram Rao

             Poal.     Vide notification dated 15.3.2003, the

             area, falling under de-reserved block No.13/1

             was notified seeking applications from public for

             grant of the mining lease. In all 746 applications

             were received.          However, fraudulently, the

             application     of   M/s    Ram   Rao   Poal   was

             recommended as sole applicant by the then

             Director of Mines and Geology, Mr. K.S.

             Prabhakar. As per the the Director of Mines &

             Geology letter dated 26.9.2007, the then Chief

             Minister, Karanataka had directed to recommend

             the case for grant of mine. The mining lease was

             granted by the State Government on 18.7.2009.

             Before the grant of the mining lease, the Deputy

             Commissioner, Bellary in his Report dated
                                                 20




28.4.2008 brought out the details regarding the

authentic   survey    numbers    and   unauthentic

survey nos. in Ramgarh village (refer Annexure

R-12) of the IA Report). The Office of the

Lokayukat, Karnataka vide letter dated 3.8.2009

stated that the land in question is a forest land.

Giving reference to the above, the Directorate

addressed a letter dated 13.8.2009 to the State

Government to withhold the notification. The

State Government vide letter dated 9.9.2009

stated that the mining lease has to be executed

after obtaining inter alia the approval under the

FC Act. In spite of the above, the mining lease

was executed on 4.2.2010 without obtaining

approval    under    the   FC   Act.   The   Forest

Department issued notice to the lessee to stop

mining activities stating that the lease area is a

forest land. The lessee filed a Writ Petition

No.41376/2010 before Karnataka High Court

(enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-31 to this Report).

The Karnataka High Court by order dated 23rd

December 2010 and various subsequent orders

granted the stay against the notification dated

26.8.2010 issued by the Forest Department. The

stay continues.      Copies of the orders of the
                                                         21




      Hon’ble Karnataka High Court are collectively

      enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-32 to this Report.

      The satellite imageries of the area (refer

      Annexure R-27 of this Report) show that the area

      was having moderately dense forest cover during

      2003 and at least up to 17.3.2010. The forest

      cover has been completely destroyed between

      17.3.2010 and 20.5.2010. As per the details

      provided by the State of Karnataka (refer

      Annexure R-28 of this Report) 32,840 trees have

      been removed from the said mining lease area;


(b)   The mining lease has been granted to M/s

      Sparkline   Mining     Corporation   as   the    sole

      applicant even though the area is part of Block

      No.13/1 and for which vide notification dated

      15.3.2003 applications have been invited from

      public for grant of mining lease. The satellite

      imageries of the area (refer Annexure R-27 of

      this Report) show that the area was having

      moderately dense forest cover and which has

      been completely wiped out. As per the details

      provided    by   the   State   Government       (refer

      Annexure R-28 of this Report) 3255 trees have
                                                       22




      been removed from the mining lease area and

      for which no permission was obtained;



(c)   The mining lease of Shri J.M. Vrushabhendraiah

      (JMV) has been sanctioned on 14.12.2007 for

      8.81 acres even though this area was part of the

      area notified on 15.3.2003 in Block No. 13/1 and

      for which applications from public were invited for

      grant of mining leases. Similar is the case with

      the mining lease of J.M.V. involving 3.36

      hectares. The Lokayukta, Karnataka has found

      that as against 3.36 hectares of mining lease

      area, the boundary fixed by the lessee was over

      15.86 hectares, 5.94 hectares was under mining

      pit outside the lease area and 8.37 hectares

      outside the lease area has been used for over-

      burden dumps. The Joint Survey Report dated

      29.3.2009 has confirmed encroachment on 14.35

      hectares;



(d)   In respect of Adarsha Enterprises, the mining

      lease has been granted on 18.7.2002 as sole

      applicant even though the area was part of the

      block No.13/1    notified for inviting applications

      from public. As against 2.91 hectares of
                                                       23




      sanctioned lease area, the Lokayukta, Karnataka

      found that the boundary fixed by the lessee

      covers 7.73 hectares, 1.36 hectares has been

      used for mining pit outside the lease area, 0.76

      hectares has been used for over-burden dumps

      outside while 2.98 hectares outside the lease

      area has been used for other encroachments. A

      copy of the sketch prepared by the Lokayukta,

      Karnataka      showing   the    details   of   the

      encroachments in the adjoining forest area by

      the lessee is enclosed at ANNEXURE-R-33 to

      this Report;


(e)   The mining lease in favour of Shri D. Ramesh

      was initially processed by treating the applied

      land as non-forest land. The area was part of the

      block 13/1 notified on 15.3.2003 for inviting

      applications from public for grant of mining lease.

      Subsequently, vide notification dated 27.3.2008,

      99.10 hectares of land was deleted from the said

      notification on the purported ground that these

      were patta lands (including the mining lease area

      of Shri D. Ramesh). The Government of

      Karnataka vide notification dated 19.3.2011

      withdrew the earlier notification dated 27.3.2008
                                                             24




            on the ground that there was no reason to

            believe that the said land was non-forest land.

            The applicant has now requested to treat the

            land as forest land; and


      (f)   In respect of M/s Karthkeyan Manganese and

            Iron Ore (P) Ltd., the applicant applied for the

            grant by stating that the proposed area is non-

            forest land. Even though the area was part of

            Block No.17 and for which applications from

            public for grant of mining leases were invited vide

            notification dated 15.3.2003, the mining lease

            was recommended and approved as sole

            applicant. As stated earlier, the then Deputy

            Conservator of Forest, Bellary Forest Division

            took a fraudulent stand in this case that the

            mining lease area is a non-forest land.


20.   During 2008, the Lokayukta, Karnataka as well as the

Karnataka Forest Department firmly took the stand that the

area wherein mining leases have been granted in Ramgarh

Block were forest areas and attract the provisions of the FC

Act. The NOC granted by the Range Forest Officer and by

the Deputy Conservator of Forest were cancelled by the

Conservator of Forest, Bellary Circle. The Lokayukta,

Karnataka giving the entire background, including the
                                                            25




notification issued under Section 4 of the Karnataka Forest

Act and the details about these areas being part of the State

/ village forest under the Management of erstwhile Sandur

State asked the State Government to take immediate action

for stopping the mining. The Deputy Commissioner, Bellary

sent a detailed report regarding fictitious survey Nos. created

in Ramgarh village and also refused to grant NOCs in at

least two cases. The Director Mines brought to the notice of

the State Government the letters of Lokayukta, Karnataka

and the Deputy Commissioner, Bellary. A number of offence

cases were booked by the Forest Department. In spite of the

above, the mining was allowed to continue unabated on a

large scale. No effective action was taken against the lease

holders who were found by the Lokayukta, Karnataka to

have encroached upon substantial forest area outside the

sanctioned lease areas. No action was taken to cancel the

environmental clearance granted to the various leases on

the wrong premise that they were non-forest area but

actually contained very dense to moderately dense forest

cover and which has completely been destroyed for mining.

No effective action was taken against the mining lease

holder. In the case of M/s Ram Rao Poal, the mining has

continued on the strength of directions issued by the

Karnataka High Court. No effective action has been taken to

get the same vacated or to file review Writ Petition / SLP
                                                             26




against the same. In addition to the provisions of the Forest

(Conservation) Act serious violation of the provisions of the

MMRD Act, Mineral Concession Rules and the various

notifications issued by the State Government was allowed to

take place. False information was provided by the Director of

Mines and for which no action was taken against him. Four

cases of mining outside the sanctioned lease area were

detected during the visit of the Lokayukta, Karnataka.

However, FIR was lodged only in one case and in the

remaining three cases the FIR was lodged after a gap of

almost three years. The CEC got the eery feeling that the

law of the land does not operate in District Bellary. It is a

most shocking state of affairs not witnessed on this scale

and brazenness anywhere else in the country. Obviously

there hasl been connivance from the highest to the lowest

level and cuts across all departments.


21.    The CEC is of the considered view that in respect of

the above stated 15 cases it is desirable and absolutely

necessary that


      a)    the mining operations are immediately directed to

            be suspended;


      (b)   the process for cancellation of mining lease, after

            the issue of notices to the parties, should be
                                                       27




      directed to be undertaken in a time bound

      manner by the concerned officers of the

      Karnataka Government;


(c)   exemplary action against the concerned officers

      of    the   Forest    Department    and    Revenue

      Department should be directed to be taken for

      issue of false “No Objection Certificates” stating

      that the areas wherein mining leases have been

      applied is a non-forest land;


(d)   exemplary action against the concerned officers

      of the Mining Department should be directed to

      be taken in a time bound manner for processing

      and recommending the grant of mining leases in

      violation of the provisions of the MMRD Act and

      the    Minerals      Concession    Rules   and   for

      concealing the material information and favouring

      individual persons;


(e)   the State of Karnataka should determine the

      boundaries of the forest area covered under

      notification issued under Section 4 of the

      Karnataka Forest Act in Ramgarh Block and

      ascertain whether the areas now decided to be

      excluded by the Forest Settlement Officer are
                                                                28




           part and parcel of the said notification or

           otherwise and thereafter should take necessary

           corrective measures. In case the decision taken

           by the Forest Settlement Officer is found to be in

           accordance     with   the   notification     and    the

           provisions of the Karnataka Forest Act regarding

           settlement of rights, before implementing the

           decision, approval under the FC Act for deletion

           of the areas from the forest should be obtained

           from the Central Government (as is being done

           in all other similarly placed cases).


22.   The CEC is also of the considered view that in the

above matter, the Rules, Regulations and provisions of the

MMRD     Act,   Mineral   Concession     Rules,       the   Forest

Conservation Act and various Notifications issued by the

State Government have been flagrantly violated not because

the concerned officers were not aware of them or there was

any ambiguity or difference of opinion among the various

Departments / officers but because of extremely rich iron ore

deposits in these areas and the ease with which it could be

mined    and the huge amount of money involved. It is

therefore necessary that in addition to the other remedial

measure and action against the officers, the concerned

mining lease holders are made to disgorge the profits made
                                                           29




by them because of mining leases illegally granted to them

and allowed to operate. It is submitted that the State of

Karnataka should ascertain the total quantity of iron ore and

other minerals extracted by the respective lease holders and

an amount equivalent to five times the normative market

value of such minerals is directed to be recovered from them

as exemplary compensation.


     This Hon’ble Court may please consider the above

Report and may please pass appropriate orders in the

matter.




                                            (M.K.Jiwrajka)
                                         Member Secretary


Dated: 15.4.2011

								
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