June 25, 2009 4:46:44 am
Reacting to a communication from Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh to protect forests in the mining district of Bellary,Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has said that the new minister may not have been briefed sufficiently on measures already taken by his Government.
You,being a new incumbent in the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests may not have been briefed by your officers or by the state Government during your visit to Karnataka on the steps initiated, the CM has said in his June 23 response to a June 15 letter from the Union minister.
In his June 15 letter to Yeddyurappa ,Ramesh has said NGOs and experts had approached him expressing concern over illegal mining in Bellarys forest region.
A global surge in demand for iron ore has seen extensive mining in the mineral-rich Bellary district over the last six to seven years and allegations of widespread encroachment of forest area in the region. The mining boom has thrown up many millionaires in the region,several of whom have entered politics.
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I wonder whether there has been any update on stopping illegal mining in the Bellary forest area since 2006, the Environment Minister said while stating that he was aware of an investigation into illegal mining for the 2000-2006 period by the state Lokayukta.
He said he was concerned about protecting the biodiversity and sought the CMs support to ensure that laws were not flouted during mining and that mining takes place in an environmentally sustainable manner.
In his response,Yeddyurappa has asked Ramesh to influence the Ministry of Mining to clearly come out with a new policy that encourages mining for value addition and discourages mining for export. I do agree with you that this is not a matter of partisan politics,but a matter that is essential for our collective ecological security, Yeddyurappa,whose Government comprises several legislators with iron ore mining interests in Bellary and in Andhra Pradesh,including recent dissenters,the powerful Reddy brothers,has stated.
My Government is fully committed to ensuring that no laws are flouted during mining and mining takes place in an environmentally sustainable manner, he has said.
Yeddyurappa went on to outline the various measures taken by his Government in the matter,including an extension of the Lokayukta probe into illegal mining.
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