'Auction of 51 'A', 'B' mines in 6 months'

'Auction of 51 'A', 'B' mines in 6 months'

'Auction of 51 'A', 'B' mines in 6 months'

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Thursday that the State government will begin auctioning the 51 ‘C’ category mines in the next six months.

He said that the government will also complete the identification of the extent of iron ore in the three mining-members ravaged districts of Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga.

Responding to questions by Opposition members in the Council over the delay in resuming mining activity in the State, Siddaramaiah said the government would auction ‘C’ category mines in a transparent manner. The government has appointed CRISIL Risk Infrastructure as transaction advisor for the auctioning process.

Siddaramaiah said the government has asked National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, in Suratkal and the Minerals Exploration Corporation Limited to identify the extent of iron ore extracted from these mines illegally.

“The government is neither delaying the auctioning process nor is it being influenced by vested parties to drag it.

There has been a delay by the ‘A’ and ‘B’ category mining companies in submitting rehabilitation and reclamation (RnR) plans to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and in starting the scientific process of identifying the extent of iron ore available in these districts,” he said.

The chief minister said that the government had issued notices to 18 ‘A’ and ‘B’ category mining companies for failing to provide RnR plans to the CEC. Siddaramaiah said that mining in the State is likely to touch 24 lakh million metric tonnes (MMT). He said that once the mining activity increases on a full scale, it will reach 29 lakh MMT.

On an official note, there are no less than 4,013 employees working in the mining sector in Karnataka, he said. Unhappy with the response, Leader of the Opposition Eshwarappa attacked the government for “protecting vested interests and delaying resumption of mining activity in the State”. He and other BJP members staged a walkout.

Siddaramaiah hit back, saying, “Your people (BJP MLAs) went to jail and are still there due to illegal mining during your regime. No less than 13 of your partymen went to jail. What right do you have to question us for delays?”

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