SC seeks Centre's clarification on iron ore extraction in K'taka

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to clarify its “contradictory” stand on raising the cap on iron ore extraction from Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru districts.

“In view of the contradictory stand taken in two sets of applications by the Union of India, we would like to know the precise stand and the precise prayer with regard to the ceiling/cap,” a three-judge bench presided over by Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked.

The bench, also comprising Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and Navin Sinha, noted that the plea made by the steel ministry was for raising the production cap from 30 MMT to 50 MMT.

The mines ministry, however, wanted the task of raising the iron ore extraction bar to be left for an experts body to determine. The court asked Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, representing the central government, to file a consolidated application on or before October 10, the next date of hearing.

The apex court had earlier approved the Central Empowered Committee’s recommendation to fix the cap of maximum 30 million tonnes of iron ore per annum for extracting from ore-rich districts of Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru.

However, the Karnataka government subsequently wanted it to be raised to 40 MMT per annum.

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