State Level Consultation – Bellary, Karnataka

In the State Level Consultation at Bellary, there were discussions on the overview of mining throughout the country, various stages of mining, illegal mining, Samata Judgement, the situation of children in the mining areas and consequences on their education, health due to air and water pollution, malnutrition issues etc. There were sessions on Mining Rules & Law Amendments, DMF Structure, Set up & present status, Cooperative mining – shareholding for the tribals, Communities command over natural resources, Future Generation Fund (model of Goa), Women & Mining etc.

KMERC issue: Karnataka is the first state in the country to have a first of its kind Special Purpose Vehicle named ‘Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation for Reclamation and Rehabilitation of Mining Affected Community and Areas’. This SPV was constituted following the direction of the Supreme Court. Iron ore Miner’s contribute 10 per cent of sale proceeds to this SPV.

According to sources more than 10,000 crores is accumulated under this SPV from 2013 till date. State Legislature has No Control over the finances of this SPV. The Supreme Court has earlier rejected three socioeconomic R&R plans submitted by the Govt of Karnataka on the reason that State has included its regular schemes under this special plan meant for people and areas ravaged by illegal, reckless mining. The Court has set a deadline to the State Govt to submit R&R Plan by October’ 2018. In all likelihood, there is a fear that it will again turn into a big scam like illegal mining scam of Ballari. Since,

here too, till date, State Govt has not appointed two distinguished persons from civil society as Directors of the Corporation despite a recommendation by the Central Empowered Committee.

A short documentary film “Falling through the cracks – Children and Mining” was screened and followed by a detailed session on the plight of children in mining areas by the Secretary-General of mm&P. A Participatory approach was followed in sensitizing the people on the violation of child rights in the context of Children in mining areas.