The Supreme Court has directed the government to select an agency through global bidding process to draw up and implement a detailed plan for the closure of mining activities in Kudremukh forest area of Karnataka.
The order came from a Bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal, which asked Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi to draw up detailed terms for the work to be done by the agency and submit a report to it within four weeks for further directions.
The selected agency would also re-analyse the stability of slopes of the mines.
The court had in 2002 directed closure of mining operations of Kudremukh Iron and Ore Company Ltd by the end of 2005 as these were having adverse effect on the environment and eco-system of the Kudremukh National Park.
The latest directions were issued on an interim application filed by the company seeking certain clarifications in the closing down order. The court considered the reports of various expert bodies, including IIT Delhi before issuing the orders.
The company has been continuing with the mining activities in Kudremukh all these years even as environment activists cried foul over it.
The Bench clarified that the work has to be consistent with the basic paradigm of "no or minimal disturbance to unbroken area."
The court asked the Union Ministry of Mines to designate an officer to take over possession of the mines immediately.
"IIT Delhi shall depute a team of experts to go and do a survey of the mines and the surrounding area and submit a report to this court regarding any immediate step(s) that need to be taken during the interregnum till the appointment of the expert agency. IIT Delhi can ask the designated officer to take any necessary steps on an emergent basis," the Bench said.
The expenditure for the purpose of inviting global competitive bid and evaluation such as on advertisement etc. may initially be met out of of Rs 19 crore deposited by the company, it said.
Email Satya Prakash: satya.prakash@hind