Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister B S
Yeddyurappa today said 20 squads are on the job to check
illegal mining of iron ore and exports and rejected Opposition
criticism that there is no let-up in the unlawful activity.
"13 joint squads have been activated. They are keeping a
24-hour vigil and discharging their duties," he told reporters
here after a review meeting on the issue.
These squads -- five in Karwar, two in Hospet and one
each in Mangalore, Chitradurga, Bijapur, Bellary, Gadag and
Hassan -- comprise officials from the departments of Forest,
Police, Transport, Commercial Taxes, Public Works and Revenue.
In addition, Yeddyurappa said seven special squads drawn
from personnel of the Mines and Forest departments have been
pressed into service to check illegal mining and exports.
Six CCTVs have been installed in Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh
border checkpost, which has helped control the illegal ore
transportation, he said, adding that licence to 58 private
yards storing iron ore has been cancelled.
Officials said more than one lakh tons of iron ore --
illegally stored or transported -- has been seized in the
state in the past one month.
The Karnataka government had recently announced a ban on
iron ore exports from 10 minor ports, but the Opposition
Congress and the Lok Ayukta have said that nothing has changed
on the ground as illegal mining is still on.
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said iron ore mined
in Karnataka is being transported out of the state and shipped
from ports in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.