Yeddyurappa blames Congress, JD-S for illegal mining
Bangalore: A day after a Supreme Court panel slammed Karnataka for "colossal illegal mining", Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa Saturday blamed his Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) predecessors for the mess.
"It is their gift to the state," Yeddyurappa, who became Bharatiya Janata Party`s first chief minister in south India in May 2008, told reporters here after a meeting with senior officials over the apex court panel`s report on illegal mining in the state, particularly in the mineral-rich Bellary district.
"Loot of ore has been taking place since 2003. It is my government which took action to check it," he said after the meeting attended by Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath and officials of mines and geology department.
"I have not given any licence for mining after we came to power. The licences were given during the Congress and JD-S rules while my government has taken steps to ban iron ore exports," he said.
The ban, however, has been lifted by the Supreme Court.
The Central Empowered Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court, Friday submitted a report stating that in monetary terms the illegal iron ore exports between 2003 and 2010 from Karnataka would be worth a staggering Rs.15,245 crore (over $3 billion).
Yeddyurappa stuck to his stand against a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe to find out who were indulging in illegal mining, a demand voiced by the Congress, the JD-S and several civil society organisations.
The committee was appointed by the Supreme Court following Karnataka-based NGO Samaja Parivartan Samudaya`s petition for a probe by a central agency into large-scale illegal mining in the state.
Freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, 91, has also petitioned the Karnataka High Court for a CBI probe into the matter. The high court will hear the petition April 21.
Yeddyurappa said there was no need for a CBI probe now as the issue was being considered by the Supreme Court.
"When Supreme Court itself has taken up the issue, what is the need for CBI probe?" he countered.
The chief minister said his government would submit a report to the apex court on the issues raised by the CEC.
"My government will implement the decisions of the Supreme Court to check illegal mining," he said.
Yeddyurappa also blamed the central government for not acceding to his demand for a ban on iron ore exports.
"I have raised the matter at the National Development Council (meeting in New Delhi in July last year). Our demand is that only value added exports should be allowed. The prime minister should have immediately acted on my submission," he said.
"It is not only the states but the central government is also responsible for protecting the resources of the country, but it has not done anything so far," the chief minister said, attacking the union government led by the Congress.
Yeddyurappa defended the Reddy brothers, who are his ministerial colleagues and mining barons and are accused of massive illegal mining in Bellary, their political base.
Bellary, about 300 km from Bangalore, borders Andhra Pradesh and the Reddys have been accused of erasing boundary marks to carry on their alleged illegal mining activity.
Of the three Reddy brothers, two are ministers - G. Janardhana holds tourism portfolio and the elder G. Karunakara handles revenue - and the youngest G. Somasekhara is a BJP legislator from Bellary.
"The allegations against them are baseless," Yeddyurappa said.
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