'Ban on iron ore export a ploy to help illegal miners'

State governments move will only rob business from those into legal mining
Last Updated 30 July 2010, 03:49 IST

The industry is of the view that the Chief Minsiter, instead of punishing those into illegal activities, has only robbed business from those who are into legal business.
R K Sharma, Secretary-General, Federation of Indian Mineral Indutry (FIMI), said those who are into illegal mining don’t need permit to carry on their business.

“In Karnataka all are into legal mining except some people. Instead of taking administrative measures to set right the system, the Chief Minister has stopped giving permits for transport of ore. He lacks political will to provide good governance. This action will not help in curbing illegal mining as those who are into illegal never take any permits, be it for mining, transport or shipping,” he said.

Sharma said that of the 40 million tonnes of iron ore extracted annually in the State, only 15 per cent is used domestically and the rest is exported. Both the Centre and the State will lose revenue while illegal trade will thrive, he argued.

Sharma said the South Indian chapter of the Association will meet shortly to take a decision on this issue.

Congress’ Santosh Lad, partner of V S Lad Mining Company, said the Chief Minister should justify the reasons for imposing such unreasonable restriction. “We are into mining from last three decades. How can the Chief Minister assume that we are all into illegal mining? We will meet him to educate how the industry works. If we are not heard, then we will approach court,” he said. Lad is an active participant in the Congress padayatra against illegal mining.

He said that mine owners may resort to selling ore to steel plants in other states and later export. There is no restriction on steel industry to export ore. “None can trample my right to conduct legal business. We will find ways of carrying on our business”, he asserted.

 K Raghavacharyulu, senior counsel for OMC owned by the Reddy brothers, said trade policies come under the domain of Parliament and the Centre. The prohibiting the exports is unconstitutional and violative of fundamental rights granted under the Constitution.
The counsel said that the state government has jurisdiction over only minor minerals and not major minerals like iron ore.

“Having banned export of iron ore, why doesn’t the Chief Minister ban export of steel and finished product manufactured within the State? The Chief Minister has erred. He is trying to help a particular steel company of Bellary,” he said.
However, the Reddys, on record, have welcomed the Chief Minister’s decision.
The Reddys are mining in Andhra Pradesh and the mainly export through Krishnapatnam port.

Rahul Kumar Baldota of Hospet-based MSPL mining company said that no one takes permit for illegal mining, and hence the Reddys would continue their illegal business through Andhra Pradesh.

Domestic needs

However, Dr Vinod Nowal, Director of Commercial at JSW Steel Ltd, has welcomed the government’s decision.

“Steel industry is purchasing ore at international level. Government should first cater to the domestic needs. Continuous export will exhaust the resources. What will be left for those industries who put up steel plants in future?”, he asked.

(Published 29 July 2010, 17:13 IST)

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