Raise mining royalty multifold, Congress tells Karnataka CM

The Congress in Karnataka sought to make a strong case for raising the royalty on mining by multi-fold to mobilise resources for some of the social welfare schemes.

Last Updated: Nov 09, 2010, 19:02 PM IST

Bangalore: The Congress in Karnataka on Tuesday
sought to make a strong case for raising the royalty on mining
by multi-fold to mobilise resources for some of the social
welfare schemes.

Newly-appointed President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress
Committee (KPCC) G Parameshwara expressed anguish that the
royalty now is a meagre Rs 50 per tonne of iron ore, which
commands a price in the region of Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,500 in the
international market.

Obviously referring to Ministers G Janardhana Reddy and G
Karunakara Reddy, who are also into mining business, he said
only a handful of people from the mineral-rich Bellary were
earning thousands of crores of rupees by exporting iron ore,
while the wealth should have gone to the common man.

"Why is the Government not raising to loyalty to Rs 100
or Rs 200 or Rs 500 (per tonne)? What prevents the Chief
Minister (B S Yeddyurappa) from doing so?," Parameshwara
asked at a meet-the-press programme, organised jointly by the
Bangalore Reporters` Guild and Press Club of Bangalore.

From the state Congress side, it would press the Centre
to raise the royalty, he said. Parameshwara alleged that under
the BJP rule, the agriculture sector had been neglected and
fertile agriculture land is being acquired purportedly for
industries in the name of development.

A masters degree holder in agriculture, who had also
worked as a research associate in the field, he warned if the
trend continues, it would lead to food shortage and said
already the paddy and ragi yields have come down in the state.
He also said the budgets presented by the BJP Government
in the past two years have not proposed any new project and
the focus was only on "cosmetic changes".

Parameshwara said the youth would be given more
representation in the upcoming Zilla and Taluk Panchayat
elections, as the party aims to build leadership from the
grassroots.

Asked what the Congress strategy would be to win back the
support of backward classes, Dalits and minorities, he said
his party needs to reconnect with them, adding, the Congress
would reach out to them and regain their confidence.

He said KPCC executive committee would be constituted
soon, a task which could not be achieved in the past more than
a decade, and he had already held discussions with the party`s
top leaders in this regard.

PTI