'30 million tonnes ore exported illegally'

 In its objections to the batch of petitions challenging the ban on export of iron ore, the government has contended that the cost of extracting a tonne of ore comes to Rs 300 as against the profit of Rs 5,000.

The mining industry would earn Rs 25,000 crore per annum on the export of 50 million tonne of iron ore, whereas the State would get a meagre Rs 100 crore as royalty.

However, if the ore is converted into steel the Stae would earn Rs 16,000 crore in the form of Central Excise Taxes and Rs 4,000 crore as VAT. This apart, it would also help in the creation of jobs for locals, according to the objection statement.

The government has further contended that the mining industries earned Rs 60,000 crore in 2007-08 by selling 120 million tonne of ore, whereas the domestic profit was Rs 15,000 crore. It has contended that it is inappropriate to let such huge wealth to be amassed by a a select few mining lease holders. In addition, about 60 mining lease holders have flouted all rules by encroaching upon forest land.

Arguing strongly against the exports, the government has stated that there is no provision for the lease holders to export ore in its raw form. The National Mineral Policy 2008 and the Karnataka Mineral Policy of 2008 had no provision providing for export and hence the mining lease holders cannot contend that they have an absolute right to sell the ore in the manner they liked.

Even the  Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules and Karnataka Forest Act allows the State to regulate exports, the statement said. Stating that the question of export arises only when the country is self-sufficient, the government submitted that India is far from attaining self-sufficiency with the steel production short of demand.

One more petition

Another petition was filed in the High Court on Monday seeking the removal of ban on the export of iron ore. Deccan Mining, Kumaraswamy Exports, S B Minerals and Kareganur Express have contend that the exports were allowed under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992  enforced by the Central government. They have argued that the State cannot interfere with the Act by imposing a ban on exports.

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