Hasten projects in four mining-hit districts: Siddaramaiah to officials

Former mining minister Halappa Achar wondered how the officials, who have been sitting on the files for over a year, could complete the DPR in a week.
Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation -- comprehensive environment plan for Mining Impact Zone has Rs 24,996.30 crore to address mining-related issues
Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation -- comprehensive environment plan for Mining Impact Zone has Rs 24,996.30 crore to address mining-related issuesPhoto | Express

BENGALURU: Mining has taken a heavy toll on the infrastructure in four districts of Ballari, Vijayanagara, Chitradurga and Tumakuru and restoration projects should be completed soon, said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, chairing a progress review meeting of the Karnataka Mines and Environment Restoration Corporation at Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday.

He said that the Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation -- Comprehensive Environment plan for Mining Impact Zone has Rs 24,996.30 crore in its kitty to address mining-related issues in these four districts.

Retired Supreme Court judge Justice B Sudarshan Reddy is overseeing the restoration projects and 358 such works, involving an expenditure of Rs 7,928.78 crore, have received necessary approvals. Of them, 182 projects have been cleared for execution, 135 tenders called, 47 work orders issued and 23 projects entrusted to various agencies.

He told the officials that a detailed project report should be completed within a week and suggested setting up of project monitoring units in departments for timely and effective implementation of projects. He lambasted secretaries for not preparing the DPR even a year after issuing the instructions.

Former mining minister Halappa Achar wondered how the officials, who have been sitting on the files for over a year, could complete the DPR in a week.

The projects listed at the meeting were Railways (Rs 5,271 crore), drinking water (Rs 4,929 crore), health sector (Rs 1,915 crore), environment restoration (Rs 2,655 crore), roads and communication (Rs 2,559 crore) and housing Rs 1193.98 crore.

Siddaramaiah suggested that beneficiaries under housing schemes be identified soon. Of the 14 minor irrigation projects, work has started in seven and tenders should be called for the remaining seven soon, he said. On repairing school buildings, he said officials should ensure that libraries, laboratories and other facilities are built.

The emphasis should be on hostels, anganwadis and others. He told development commissioners to make the four districts a model for other districts, by utilising the special funds allocated to them.

For the next meeting, deputy commissioners and chief executive officers of these districts too have been asked to join. He said statistics indicated that air pollution has reduced as compared to last year in these districts. The officials responded, saying the ambient air quality was satisfactory.

Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner Dr Shalini Rajneesh, Chief Minister’s Additional Chief Secretary LK Ateeq, Secretary Dr KV Trilokachandra and senior government officials were present at the meeting.

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