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Updates:


June 17, 2024: According to estimates, around 99,000 trees totally in Sandur forest would be cut down through the course of the mining project, with around 21,000 being cut down within the first 5 years. 


MOEFCC, Karnataka Forest Department, SAIL, VISL, Ballari Deputy Conservator of Forests Sandip H Suryawanshi

Demands:

  1. Withhold clearance to SAIL and VISL

  2. Instead of clearing an existing virgin forest, consider alternate areas that have been broken up previously if need be


Sandur in Karnataka’s Ballari district has been facing the brunt of mining-related activities for years now! The pristine hills in the region have been dug up and carved out for decades. Mining has destroyed lives and livelihoods over the years, with loud explosions and dust causing widespread distress to people living nearby.


As farming has virtually been wiped out from the region, many depend on mining to make a livelihood. But it comes with ecological costs…


What’s the issue?


The forest department in Karnataka has received a proposal to chop over 29,400 trees to turn a 150-acre virgin forest in the Ramanadurga range into an iron ore bowl, according to a report in the Deccan Herald.


The proposal comes from the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant Limited (VISL) who wish to take up mining in the area as an ‘essential undertaking for the survival of the VISL.’


The proposed project is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. If given a nod, then 29,400 fully grown trees are at risk of being felled from the forest! 


Locals in the area signalled an alarm when the forest department began an exercise to enumerate these trees in the forest. These trees have served as lifeblood, and have helped maintain the ecological balance of the region, which has faced widespread destruction because of years of mining activity in the neighbouring areas. Chopping these trees will adversely impact not just the lives of residents but also the flora and fauna in the region.


In 2019, state forest officials had noted in their reports that mining in the concerned region should not be permitted as it would not only destroy forests but also cause soil erosion. There were concerns that it could also possibly affect a site of archaeological importance: the proposed mining site lies just within a kilometre of the eighth-century — Kumaraswamy Temple. [1]


Karnataka has been facing extreme heat, and erratic weather events. Compounding these challenges is the acute water shortage faced by many cities across the state, including Bengaluru. The state cannot afford to lose its ecological heritage at this critical juncture. \


Keeping this in mind, we’re urging the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to withhold clearance for the proposed project. Instead, alternate areas could be considered, which have already been dug up in the past. Additionally, we are appealing to the Forest Department of Karnataka to allow existing projects that involve planting saplings to grow till completion before any such activities are permitted in the future!


Our forests must not be the price we have to pay for development! Activists have fought for decades to conserve these trees from the risks of mining and other activities. We must stand in solidarity with them and protect these trees.


Sources:

  1. 29,400 Trees Across 150 Acres to Be Axed in Karnataka’s Sandur for Mining: Report

  2. Mining-ravaged Sandur set to lose over 29,000 trees

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBJvgN2Wd4o 


P.S. You can also make a contribution of your choice to support our work. Any amount, no matter how small, goes a long way in keeping up our efforts for a sustainable Karnataka. Support now.

Updates:


June 17, 2024: According to estimates, around 99,000 trees totally in Sandur forest would be cut down through the course of the mining project, with around 21,000 being cut down within the first 5 years. 


MOEFCC, Karnataka Forest Department, SAIL, VISL, Ballari Deputy Conservator of Forests Sandip H Suryawanshi

Demands:

  1. Withhold clearance to SAIL and VISL

  2. Instead of clearing an existing virgin forest, consider alternate areas that have been broken up previously if need be


Sandur in Karnataka’s Ballari district has been facing the brunt of mining-related activities for years now! The pristine hills in the region have been dug up and carved out for decades. Mining has destroyed lives and livelihoods over the years, with loud explosions and dust causing widespread distress to people living nearby.


As farming has virtually been wiped out from the region, many depend on mining to make a livelihood. But it comes with ecological costs…


What’s the issue?


The forest department in Karnataka has received a proposal to chop over 29,400 trees to turn a 150-acre virgin forest in the Ramanadurga range into an iron ore bowl, according to a report in the Deccan Herald.


The proposal comes from the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant Limited (VISL) who wish to take up mining in the area as an ‘essential undertaking for the survival of the VISL.’


The proposed project is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. If given a nod, then 29,400 fully grown trees are at risk of being felled from the forest! 


Locals in the area signalled an alarm when the forest department began an exercise to enumerate these trees in the forest. These trees have served as lifeblood, and have helped maintain the ecological balance of the region, which has faced widespread destruction because of years of mining activity in the neighbouring areas. Chopping these trees will adversely impact not just the lives of residents but also the flora and fauna in the region.


In 2019, state forest officials had noted in their reports that mining in the concerned region should not be permitted as it would not only destroy forests but also cause soil erosion. There were concerns that it could also possibly affect a site of archaeological importance: the proposed mining site lies just within a kilometre of the eighth-century — Kumaraswamy Temple. [1]


Karnataka has been facing extreme heat, and erratic weather events. Compounding these challenges is the acute water shortage faced by many cities across the state, including Bengaluru. The state cannot afford to lose its ecological heritage at this critical juncture. \


Keeping this in mind, we’re urging the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to withhold clearance for the proposed project. Instead, alternate areas could be considered, which have already been dug up in the past. Additionally, we are appealing to the Forest Department of Karnataka to allow existing projects that involve planting saplings to grow till completion before any such activities are permitted in the future!


Our forests must not be the price we have to pay for development! Activists have fought for decades to conserve these trees from the risks of mining and other activities. We must stand in solidarity with them and protect these trees.


Sources:

  1. 29,400 Trees Across 150 Acres to Be Axed in Karnataka’s Sandur for Mining: Report

  2. Mining-ravaged Sandur set to lose over 29,000 trees

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBJvgN2Wd4o 


P.S. You can also make a contribution of your choice to support our work. Any amount, no matter how small, goes a long way in keeping up our efforts for a sustainable Karnataka. Support now.

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