The Central Empowered Committee, an environmental panel that reports directly to the Supreme Court, on Friday recommended a complete ban on iron ore mining in Tumkur and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka, which border the now notorious Bellary district.
Agreeing with the state lokayukta, the anti-corruption watchdog, the CEC filed a report before the apex court that said large scale and ''reckless'' mining was being carried out in these districts, particularly by private companies, seriously destroying the environment.
A three-judge green bench headed by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia and including justices Aftab Alam and Swatanter Kumar sought the response of the union and the state government, as the CEC said mining was being conducted in an environmentally unsustainable manner for short-term gains.
The committee said much forest had been lost due to illegal mining of iron ore over 2,678 hectares in Tumkur and Chitradurga, with illegal mining and production in excess of the size of lease.
''This court's 29 July order, by which mining operations have been suspended in Bellary, may be extended in respect of the mining leases in districts of Tumkur and Chitradurga,'' the report said.
Submitting the CEC's report to the court, amicus curiae A D N Rao said the adverse impact on the environment in these two districts was identical to that seen in Bellary; and advocated controlled mining as has been ordered by the apex court in Bellary.