Bangalore: The Congress on Monday alleged that illegal mining of iron ore and exports is continuing unabated in Karnataka and challenged BJP government`s claims to the
contrary while demanding transfer of key officials from mineral rich Bellary district.
"Despite the Karnataka government banning iron ore export from 10 minor ports, minerals carried from the state in hundreds of trucks are being shipped from ports in
neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and the state," leader of the Opposition in the Legislative assembly, Siddaramaiah said.
He noted that Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde had also said last week that illegal mining is on in Karnataka and there has not been any halt to exports.
Siddaramiah said Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa keeps blaming the Centre while the fact is that seizing illegally mined and exported ore s well within the state`s jurisdiction.
He charged Yeddyurappa with "misleading" people on the issue by telling "blatant lies" and said, if the Government was serious about halting illegal mining and export, it should
transfer some 57 officials in the district who, he added, had "colluded" with Reddy brothers (Ministers G Karunakara Reddy and G Janardhana Reddy).
Siddarmaiah said these officials were transferred by Yeddyurappa last year to "cut the Reddy brothers to size" but were reverted to their earlier positions when these ministers
threatened to bring the Government down.
He said the Yeddyurappa government approved five mining leases during its tenure, and its claims that it did not clear even one is a "lie".
The Congress leader demanded that the Government divulge details of separate CID and Loyayukta probes on missing of five lakh tons of iron ore from Belikeri port, which came to light on June 2.
He said ban on iron ore export has only created "problems" for those doing the business without flouting norms, while it is "gala-time" for Reddy brothers who have "licence in Andhra Pradesh, take iron ore from Karnataka and export it again from Andhra Pradesh".
He said Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has assured a Congress delegation from the state that necessary steps would be taken to get vacated, the stay on CBI enquiry on illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh by the High Court.