The Karnataka state government has ordered the deputy commissioner of Chikkamagaluru to take action against buildings and infrastructure in the Kudremukh mining area. The land will be handed over to the forest department, the Bangalore Mirror reported.
It has also ordered the chief wildlife warden to initiate action against the Kudhremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd and Alva's Kudhremukh Nisargadhama, a health resort, for indulging in commercial activity in an eco-sensitive zone of the national park, the report said.
Based on a petition filed by the Wildlife First Organization, the Karnataka High Court had ordered the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) for forest, environment and ecology to hear the matter and issue appropriate orders.
Accordingly, the ACS ordered the revenue department to dispossess the lands held by KIOCL and to take action against the health resort for its presence within the eco-sensitive zone.
Bangalore Mirror reported that the issue surfaced when KIOCL sold a part of its leased property to Alvaâ€™s Kudhremukh Nisargadhama to set up a luxury health resort despite the expiration of the lease period, and in doing so, defied a Supreme Court order.
The ACS said in his order: â€śThe patta lands possessed by the KIOCL fall within the 10km of the ecosensitive zone of the national park. The absence of environmental clearance violates the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and ordered the chief wildlife warden to take necessary action, according to the Mirror.
â€śOur objective was to save the Bhadra River and these areas are only a catchment area that drain into the river. Damaging these forest areas would have caused immense damage to the river, which is vital to the Western Ghats. Had we allowed mining in the area, the river would have been dead by now and previously too the same concerns were raised by the revenue officials. We urge the DC to initiate necessary and time-bound action to dispossess KIOCL from the entire portion of the demised mining area. We also urge Chief Wildlife Warden to immediately seal Alvaâ€™s resort and stop all commercial tourism within the park,â€ť Praveen Bhargav, Trustee, Wildlife First, told Mirror.
However, KIOCL officials said there was a permanent injunction against taking back the possessed land. â€śWe are aware of the ACS order and. We are awaiting a response from the KFD and thereafter we will respond over the issue,â€ť a senior official of the company also told the Bangalore Mirror.