The court sought to know the position of R8,000 crore collected from miners in Karnataka
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the central empowered committee (CEC) to clarify why CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) funds to the tune of R42,000 crore are lying unutilised by states. It also sought to know the position regarding R8,000 crore collected as penalty/auction money from miners in Karnataka.
A bench headed by justice Ranjan Gogoi said that it will decide in due course about the huge amount of money which is lying unused for long time.
However, the apex court-appointed CEC said that the government’s plea seeking approval to transfer R42,000 crore to consolidated funds is still pending in the Supreme Court. It further said that R8,000 crore has been kept in fixed deposits and the same has not been used so far.
Amicus curie Shyam Divan also told the court that there are 108 mines, which form part of Category A and B mines in Karnataka, and many such miners are yet to get clearances. At present, only 21 iron ore mines operating in Karnataka.
On iron ore demand, the panel said that while 9 million tonne (mt) iron ore is being produced in Karnataka, India needs around 150 mt of iron ore.
The court is hearing 44 review petitions challenging several aspects of its April 18, 2013 order, by which Category A and B mines were allowed to resume mining with a cap of 30 mtpa. The 44 review petitions include 39 filed by Category C mines. The latter has sought a review on four grounds: The survey conducted by CEC impacted individual cases; there was violation of the principle of natural justice; the apex court exceeded powers under Article 32; and there was no objective assessment of mines and the SC, while cancelling their licences, took upon itself the powers of legislature.