BANGALORE: The state government and the High Power Committee headed by Union Steel Secretary P K Mishra are at loggerheads over resuming mining in the Western Ghats. While the former has recommended resumption of iron ore mining in the region, the state has opined that it is not in favour of the proposal.
Reacting to a report submitted by the High Power Committee on the issue, Forest Minister C P Yogishwar ruled out allowing mining in the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats in the state. “The Committee must have overlooked certain environmental and ecological issues while submitting its report. The Karnataka government will not endorse the views expressed by the committee,” he asserted. Adding that he would discuss the issue with Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Thursday, Yogishwar said: “We are firm on the issue and will oppose any threat to the forests.”
What Does the Report Say?
The committee, among other things, had favoured the resumption of iron ore mining in Western Ghats to meet the demand for ore from domestic and international markets. The report has highlighted that the Western Ghats has a rich deposit of about 10 billion tonnes of magnetite, of which more than 80 per cent of the reserves are available in Karnataka alone. After Karnataka hit the headlines for illegal mining, the Supreme Court intervened and banned iron ore mining in Bellary and other districts. The issue also rocked the government, resulting in the ouster of then CM B S Yeddyurappa.