May 20, 2013
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) slammed the Supreme Court's Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) for taking a ‘soft’ view of the big fish in Karnataka’s monstrous mining scam.
It said that while it had punished the small miners by shutting them down, the big sharks, whose violations were far more flagrant, had been let off easily.
The green think-tank pointed to government departments, which had connived with the miners and acted illegally, had gotten away without any punishment.
The SC panel had recommended that the gravity of crime should be determined by the percentage of illegal area mined rather than the illegal ore extracted or the area encroached illegally. In April, the SC approved this CEC recommendation.
The green group's deputy director general, Chandra Bhushan said that "the government officers who connived, consented or simply did nothing to stop the rot haven't been held accountable. The worst part is that today these departments represented in the Supreme Court monitoring committee have become all-powerful and are back in the business to decide the fate of Bellary without any institutional reform."
CSE said opening all the mines again - as the SC has ordered — will lead to havoc in the region. It said, "The bottom-line, after all the rigmarole and more than two years of judicial scrutiny, is that all mines, big and small, big or small offenders, will continue in some form or another."
It added, "This rule book could well end up incentivizing large mines to commit large offence. The simple fact is that the Bellary formula will work against small mines, as it is based on quantifying the extent of violation as a percentage of the mine lease area. This will end up "legalizing" non-compliance of large mines. Mines with large lease areas, for instance of 1,000 hectares, could have encroached 100 ha and still be in legal B category."