NGO seeks Lokayukta probe into illegal mining

By : BS Reporter
Last Updated: Mon, Jan 02, 2012 19:32 hrs

National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources urges chief minister intervention mining in Kappat Gudda hill.

The National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR), the Dharwad-based organisation fighting for conservation of natural resources, has demanded chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda to initiate a Lokayukta probe into the alleged illegal mining activities in the eco-sensitive Kappat Gudda hill areas in Gadag district.

“Our demand for a Lokayukta probe into illegal mining in Kappat Gudda is based on a fact-finding visit of the NCPNR study team to Kappat Gudda recently.

Our team visited the area to understand the devastat-ing destruction of environment and ecology of this ecologically-sensitive hill range, known for its flora and fauna, especially the medicinal plants,” S R Hiremath, founder president of NCPNR, said.

The NCPNR study team has found a powerful nexus between some of the peo-ple’s representatives, officials and mining mafia who have systematically looted the mineral wealth including iron ore to an extent of 50 per cent, he alleged.

There is an urgent need to take steps to arrest the devastating impact of mining mafia in the last decade, Hiremath told reporters. Kappat Gudda is home to some of the rare medicinal and aromatic plants most of which are naturally grown. The forest is spread across a vast region and the state government has been preserving medicinal plants since 2001.

“We have decided to approach few sensitive elected representatives to raise the issue in the coming Assembly session,” Hiremath said.

Convener of Jan Sangram Parishat (JSP) Raghavendra Kushtagi, who has joined hands with NCPNR said, mining had affected the natural resources to a greater extent and water source dried up in Bangarada Hole tank in the vicinity.

“Though Shivakumara Swamiji of Nandiveri Mutt took up the issue, powerful mining lobby succeeded in silencing him,” he lamented. The rich deposits of gold, manganese and iron ore had been attracting the mining mafia for the past few years. Smelling a fortune, many powerful people were into sub-surface mining where they strike gold veins. “The Ministry of Mines and Geology is silently watching the plundering of natural wealth,” he noted.

The NCPNR has decided to focus on protection of Kappat Gudda and is organising a jatha to create awareness among the people. Jathas would be launched from Sugalammadevi temple in Bellary, Chitradurga, Kudli near Shimoga and Belikeri port in Karwar and converge in Gadag on January 25. A symposium would be held in Gadag that day to spread awareness about illegal mining in Kappat Gudda, he said.

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