In the midst of a political upheaval in Karnataka, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered immediate suspension of mining and transportation of iron ore from Bellary district of the state saying “over-exploitation” of the area has caused large-scale environmental degradation.
“We are of the view that the mining of iron ore in Bellary be suspended immediately till further orders,” a special bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kadia said.
The court said the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) will, meanwhile, come out with an interim report on the requirement of the iron ore for the country’s steel industry.Secondly, the bench said, the MoEF will also spell out as to how much of iron ore is required for the domestic industry and how much needs to be imported.
The court issued the directions accepting Attorney General G E Vahanvati’s submission that the MoEF will come out with the report in consultation with other ministries concerned — mines, steel and commerce.
The bench passed the order after perusing the latest report of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which had said that the illegal mining was going on not only in a rampant manner, but it was also causing irreversible environmental degradation.
The court took environmental degradation into account for suspending the mining activities in Bellary.