A few ministers looting State: Governor

A few ministers looting State: Governor

Making his intent clear on the issue of the alleged involvement of some ministers of the B S Yeddyurappa Government in illegal mining, Governor H R Bhardwaj indicated on Sunday that he will take his criticism of the State Government to its “logical end”.

In a statement in Hassan, Bhardwaj said: “I cannot remain a mute spectator to the looting of the State by three or four ministers, and that is why I have spoken against the State Government on the issue of mining. I want to take the issue to its logical end.”

The Governor’s statement comes in the wake of the Centre asking the State Government to consider taking the help of the CBI to investigate cases of illegal mining in the state, an issue that the chief minister took up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week.

Reacting to the Governor’s comment, State BJP chief K S Eshwarappa said he was not aware how the Governor could come to a conclusion that some ministers were looting the state’s resources by misusing official machinery though nothing has been proved yet.

“Of course, there are some allegations, but investigation is on and nothing has been proved yet. The Andhra Pradesh government has ordered a CBI inquiry into illegal mining. So far, nothing has been established...I wonder how can anyone come to such a conclusion,” Eshwarappa told Deccan Herald in Bangalore.

What has assumed importance is the Centre bringing to the notice of the state government the continuing violations of forest rules by mining companies in Bellary district.

Asking the state government to suspend mining operations of three companies with immediate effect, Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said in a letter to Yeddyurappa that the three companies — S B Minerals, Trident Minerals and Veeyam Private Limited — were extracting iron ore in Sandur near Bellary by flouting all regulations.

Ramesh said in his letter that the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), a statutory committee which monitors forest violations by mining companies, has recommended that the state government immediately undertake survey to demarcate mining areas that come under the jursidiction of the forest department in Sandur.

What has raised, however, eyebrows is the Governor’s broadside against the Yeddyurappa government in general and the Reddy brothers in particular.

“Some Ministers are using their power to further their business interests,” the Governor said, making it clear that his criticism extended only to some and not all the members of the State Cabinet.

Corruption probe

An unrelenting Bhardwaj wondered that “while the chief minister has the power to investigate cases of corruption, why has he written to the Centre”. This was in obvious reference to Yeddyurappa’s letter to the Prime Minister seeking a ban on the export of iron ore.

Expressing his happiness over Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde’s decision to withdraw his resignation, the Governor said, “both of us are working with the same purpose”.
Pointing out that the state government needed to respect the Lokayukta, Bhardwaj said “some ministers need to learn to give respect to earn respect”.

The Governor was acerbic in his remarks about the Congress leaders in the State who flocked to the Raj Bhavan with memoranda on any issue. “I am the representative of the President here, and not a leader of any political party. If there are problems, they (Congress leaders) should fight it out in the Assembly. I have told them not to come to me.”

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