Killer ore trucks back on roads

Traffic has increased after transfer of key officials in Bellary district

Most of them prefer to transport ore in the night as they are generally overloaded and the truck owners and drivers feel that they can hoodwink the authorities easily.

The dissident activity had its impact on mining industry here with Chief Minister B S Yeddyurppa posting a strict forest officer in Biswajith Mishra in a bid to tame the Bellary brothers, who had revolted against him and were demanding his scalp. He had also changed the DC and the SP, who were considered close to the Reddy brothers, Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy and Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy.

With change of three key officials, those involved in mining industry were apprehensive about shifting ore in large quantities. With Misra in command, he mopped Rs 20 crore within a month in forest tax, as against just Rs 15 crore in nearly 15 months. "The number of trucks on the road had dropped by nearly 50 per cent as the vigilance was very tight," official sources and those closely involved in the mining industry told Deccan Herald.

Devu, who drives a press vehicle from Hubli to Bellary daily, said "Now I need extra two hours to cover about 240 km from Hubli to Bellary. When there was a drop in movement of ore-laden trucks, I was covering the distance in about five hours. Now, I take about seven hours. I have to be extra cautious as the truck drivers resort to rash driving to reach the destination before dawn.

A hotelier on the outskirts of the Hubli, septuagenarian Shabir Shah, confirmed that there was a sudden increase in the truck movement to Karwar. "I am doing a roaring business throughout the night. There was some drop in the movement of vehicle in the first week of November," he pointed out without going into what could be the reason.

Because of the heavy movement of the trucks, the number of mishaps were on the rise. Though mining trucks were not directly involved in the two recent ghastly road accidents, villagers blame the ore-lorries for increased traffic and mishaps.

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