Ballary: At a time when environmentalists are opposing iron mining activity near the 1200-year old Kumaraswamy and Parvathi temple complex in Swamimalai forest range in Sandur in the district, top government officials say that as on date, there is no specific rule nor direction by any court to stop mining around the temple.
"The companies which successfully bid for category "C" mines in Swamimalai forest range are free to resume mining operations", said a senior official in the department of mines and geology.
He said that the Supreme Court which is monitoring mining operations in the state has not given any specific direction to ban mining near the temple complex in the PIL filed by Samaj Parivartan Samudaya. The officer pointed out the case of Jambunatha temple, in Hosapete, where mining was banned in a 1 km radius of the 500-year-old temple complex.
A Supreme Court judgment dated July 1, 2013, had directed the state govt to appoint an expert committee to examine the impact of mining on protected monuments and take necessary remedial measures.
"We cannot apply the case of Jambunatha temple to Kumaraswamy temple", he said adding that the government is awaiting a report from the apex court constituted expert committee to decide on the ‘No Mining Zone’ near shrines.
A team of experts, headed by N. Manjula, Commissioner, Karnataka State Archaeology, Museums and Heritage visited the temple complex to assess the impact of mining but is yet to finalize its report.
History lovers say Kumaraswamy temple complex belonging to the Chalukya-Rashtrakuta is facing extinction because of mining in Sandur. It was declared to be of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remnants Act, 1958.
Recently, the government auctioned seven category 'C' mines, to 'end-users' in pursuance of the Supreme Court order. Two mines, M/s Hothur Traders and M/s Karthikeya Iron Ore and Manganese, which are located in Kumaraswamy hill, have been allotted to private steel plants which are expected to resume mining operations shortly....