K’taka min halts mining plans despite Kumaraswamy’s approval

Bengaluru, June 23 (UNI) The serene Devadari forest in Sandur, Ballari district, has become a battleground between Union Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Karnataka Forests Minister Eshwar B Khandre.

Khandre’s directive to halt the handover of Devadari to Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) stands in stark contrast to Kumaraswamy’s approval for mining operations in the area.

Expressing grave concerns, Khandre emphasised, “Allowing mining here would result in the felling of 99,330 trees, including precious sandalwood and teak. This devastation could exacerbate soil erosion and flood risks.”

The proposed mining, spanning 470.408 hectares near the Daroji Bear Sanctuary, has sparked statewide opposition. Social activists and environmentalists are vehemently opposing the move, citing potential ecological damage and pointing out past violations by KIOCL.

The decision to refrain from signing the Aranya Tiruvalli contract is in sync with Khandre’s stated position on protecting the the region’s biodiversity, an official said, adding the move aligns with previous forest department decisions against new mining leases in forested areas.

Meanwhile, a social media campaign dubbed “Save Sanduru Forest” has gained momentum, amplifying public dissent and rallying support to protect the fragile ecosystem.

The clash between Kumaraswamy and Khandre highlights a pivotal moment in Karnataka’s environmental policy, where competing interests in development and conservation collide with significant implications for the region’s future.

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