K'taka HC quashes mining licences, suggests nationalisation

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Bangalore, Aug 7 (UNI) Quashing a government notification on mining licences, the Karnataka High Court today suggested formulation of policy to bring in nationalisation and stopping mining in all forest areas to protect the environment.

''State and Centre may also consider the possibilities of nationalising the mining industry so that private profit motive does not come in the way of protecting environment.

''Stop mining activities in forest area,'' Justice D V Shylendra Kumar said disposing a petition.

Quashing Karnataka government notification dated March 15, 1953 granting mining licences in five districts of the state, Justice Kumar said mining activities should be totally avoided in forest areas.

He said the government should make scientific and conscious evolution before granting mining licences in forest areas.

''The government should always make a clear distinction between forest areas and non-forest areas while granting mining lease and awareness should be created on Reserved Forest Act,'' he said.

The state government had neglected both Karnataka Forest Act 1963 and Centre's Forest Conservation Act 1983 while granting licences, the judge observed.

The government was directed not to embark on granting any new mining lease in forest areas in the state.

The judge said the state and Central governments may consider drafting a suitable legislation for conservation of minerals, if not in all the areas but at least in forest areas.

Proper guidelines should be formulated and the government should not yield to gains, he said in his verdict.

The court quashed the government notification of March 15, 2003 in which mining licences were granted in 36 blocks of Bellary, Bangalore Rural, Kolar, Mandya and Mysore districts.

The notification was challenged by MSPL Ltd, Hospet which alleged the government had shown discrepancy while granting licences.

UNI MSP RS GM KK RK2101

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