Sandur forest mining: Kumaraswamy says K’taka govt okayed it before his union ministry approved it


PTI, Jun 18, 2024, 8:57 PM IST

 

Union Minister for Steel and Heavy Industries H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday claimed he was not the one who decided to allow mining in about 404 hectares of forest area in Sandur in Ballari district in Karnataka, and that the state government had approved the project much earlier.

He was reacting to reports expressing concerns that 99,000 trees would be felled if the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) is permitted to mine iron ore in Devadari forest area of Sandur taluk.

The union minister had recently given his approval to KIOCL to operationalise the Devadari Iron Ore Mine.
Noting that the Devadari project is on Prime Minister’s 100-day agenda, Kumaraswamy instructed officials to work diligently in this regard and said that mining should be started as soon as possible.

“I did not sign for deforestation,” he claimed. “This decision has been taken with the intention that there should be steel production in the state and more and more jobs should be created for our youth. This step has been taken with the aim of contributing more to the GDP growth as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ wish.”

Stating that propaganda is being spread to create anxiety among the people, Kumaraswamy said that in 2019, the state government had given permission for mining in an area of 404 hectares for the Devadari mining project, and later, the Union Environment Ministry also gave permission.

“But, there have been reports that Kumaraswamy has signed the plan to give permission for mining, and damage will be caused to forest and biodiversity in Devadari region. There are reports that 99,000 trees will be affected,” he noted.

Kumaraswamy, who held a meeting with KIOCL officers, claimed there is “no need to worry” about the mining project, as KIOCL will plant an “alternative” forest in an area of 808 hectares at a cost of around Rs 194 crore before starting the ore extraction work.

The minister said that the forest department has been paid for it. He also claimed that “all precautionary measures have been taken so as not to disturb the biodiversity.”

In a separate development, he also discussed with officials about the revival of Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP) at Bhadravati in Shivamogga district.

He instructed the officials to think about it. “It was a good factory, a landmark of Karnataka. Think about saving it,” he said.

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