'State reluctant to check illegal mining'

Mining regulation: Debate kicks up verbal heat and ore dust
Last Updated 31 July 2010, 18:01 IST

"The State Government has all the powers to stop illegal mining but sadly it's not using them," Moily told reporters after a conference here on Saturday.

He also said that the ball was in the State's court and the Centre could do very little about it.

Too little too late

Later addressing a press conference, AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi criticised the Government's decision to ban export of iron ore saying it was "too little too late".
It was not an export ban per se, but restrictions placed on transporting iron ores to the ports, Singhvi observed.

"It is similar to closing the stable after letting the horse escape," Singhvi maintained. Claiming that 35 lakh tonnes of iron ore went out of Karnataka between November 2009 and February 2010, Singhvi said that the amount was "10 percent of the State’s total iron ore export".

Rs 1,800 crore loss

“If we estimate the global price of the ore at $130 per tonne, it would mean that the State's exchequer incurred a loss of Rs 1,800 crore. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the total booty,” he said.

Terming the BJP rule in Karnataka as “Gunda Raj”, Singhvi said the Government was just playing out a “drama of inquiries”. “This is the distorted version of Sushasan advocated by BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani,” he said.

Coming down heavily on the Government's refusal to hand over the probe into illegal mining to the CBI, Singhvi termed the move as “shameless”.

Repeating his party’s demand for a CBI probe, Singhvi said: “Why don't they file a three-line FIR and transfer the case to the agency.”

“What is happening in Karnataka is a gigantic, white-collar crime right under the nose of the Chief Minister. Yeddyurappa should at least order an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court with a mandate to submit the report within three months,” he said.

Severe punishment

About the allegation of Congress leaders’ involvement in illegal mining, Singhvi bluntly said that they should be punished severely.

“Crime is caste-less, creed-less, and colour-less,” Singhvi remarked.

(Published 31 July 2010, 18:01 IST)

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