Bangalore: With the illegal mining issue
in the spotlight, the Centre on Saturday said it is planning to set
up an authority to check the menace.
A Group of Ministers discussed at a meeting in Delhi
yesterday outlines of the proposed Mineral Regulation
Authority and the powers to be vested with it to deal with
illegal mining, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said here.
"We have discussed it. There are lot of issues to be
looked into," he told reporters, refusing to commit himself to
a timeframe to introduce a bill in Parliament for establishing
When set up the authority would have powers to
regulate mining, granting of mining leases and filing of cases
against violators, as a deterrent against illegal mining of
Moily slammed the Karnataka government for not
checking illegal mining and illegal exports of minerals,
saying "it is unfortunate though the Centre has given all the
powers to states, it has not been exercised".
"They have failed to prevent illegal mining and
regulate mining activity," he said.
Meanwhile, stepping up its attack, Congress demanded
resignation of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa for his
government`s "failure" to check illegal mining and illegal
export of iron ore in the state.
"They have no right to govern even for a minute,"
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here,
claiming that in a span of three months from January about 3.5
lakh tonne of iron ore was illegally exported from the state
ports "and that too under the nose of the chief minister".
Ridiculing the measures announced by the Karnataka
government in ordering closure of 10 ports and ban on issue of
transport permits to check illegal exports, he said "they are
closing the door after allowing horse to escape".
Reiterating his party`s demand for a CBI probe into
illegal mining, he said "Why don`t they file a simple FIR and
transfer it to CBI? It is a nonsensical drama they are
Yeddyurappa has rejected the demand for a CBI probe by
the state Congress which is now on a 320 km padayatra, to
mine-rich Bellary district to protest illegal mining.
To a question, Singhvi said, "If Congress leaders are
involved in illegal mining, let them be punished. We are not
holding brief for anyone."