Ramgad Minerals and Mining Pvt. Ltd (RMMPL), a Baldota Group company, which was given a Reconnaissance Permit in 2001 for gold in Kappatagudda, has objected to the move by Gadag district administration to restore its Conservation Reserve status. The company said Kappatagudda in Gadag district should not be declared a Conservation Reserve under Section 36A of the Wildlife Protection Act as it is neither adjacent to a National Park nor a sanctuary. It also said the district is deficient in forest wealth and some of the wildlife is probably extinct as has been recorded in recent years.
“No animal and human conflicts have been reported since several decades,” it added. A Public Consultation chaired by Deputy Commissioner of Gadag Manoj Jain was held at Dambal village in Gadag district on January 16, attended by seers and elected representatives. Backed by the seers of various Lingayat community mutts, environmentalists are fighting to get the Conservation Reserve tag to Kappatagudda. The company said a conservation reserve has the same restrictions as those of a Protected Area, and forest-dwellers, who are farming for their livelihood stand to be evacuated mercilessly. Moreover, commercial farming, electrification and shops will not be allowed to function, it said in a statement. Tribals in the area will face severe problems if Kappadagudda is declared a Conservation area, it said.
RMMPL Director Rahul Baldota said the company’s Gold Project will not only help the country reduce its dependence on gold imports, but also develop industrial activity in Gadag district by creating jobs and bringing socio-economic progress for better quality of life for the people of the district.
He also said RMML was given a Reconnaissance Permit in 2001 for gold and subsequently, the company has applied for prospecting licenses and mining leases, some of which have already been granted and some pending for grant. “We have fulfilled the statutory requirements for the same. We have vested rights for the grants to be given to us as per the new MMDR Act,” he said.
The state government, on December 19, 2015 had declared the range as a conservation reserve, making it clear that the forest cover in the area, which are famous for its therapeutic plant cover, are to be preserved. However, on November 4 last year, the Karnataka Wildlife Board reversed the decision and withdrew the conservation tag, a move that has raised the hackles of environmentalists and seers. Prominent seer Tontadarya Mutt’s Siddalinga Swamy has accused the government of falling prey to the pressure from the mining lobby, as the hills are rich in gold and iron ore deposits. The issue also had rocked the Legislative Assembly with BJP accusing the government of deliberately maneouvering to help the Baldota group of companies do gold mining in the region.