CM decides to bring Jindal deal back to Cabinet

With controversy over the decision to handover 3,667 acres land to JSW Steel in Ballari refusing to die down, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has decided to place the matter before the Cabinet for reconsideration.

“I have discussed the controversy with Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Industries Minister K J George. I’ve directed that this be re-examined and placed before the Cabinet for a discussion,” Kumaraswamy said in a tweet.

With this, Kumaraswamy has spoken on the issue after maintaining silence ever since the Cabinet decided on May 27 to convert the lease of the 3,667 acres into sale for the Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW Steel.  

Not only is the BJP stiffly opposing this move, even senior Congress leader H K Patil has launched a campaign against this. Patil has been attacking the government by writing letters, much to the embarrassment of the Congress-JD(S) coalition. He has maintained that the company had been accused of illegal mining and that it owed dues to the government. He found support from JD(S) state president H Vishwanath, no less.

George, however, has argued that the government was simply honouring its commitment as per an agreement it had inked in 2006, and that the decision was vetted by the law department.

An effort by KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao to convince Patil not to oppose the government’s decision went in vain.

Sources in the government said Kumaraswamy wanted to steer clear of the controversial issue in the wake of the BJP decision to stage a state-wide protest from June 13. The saffron party has been accusing the coalition government of favouring the company that was accused of illegal mining.

It is said that the matter, when it comes back to the Cabinet, may be referred to a sub-committee for a thorough study on the merits and demerits of converting the status of the land from ‘lease-hold’ to ‘free-hold’.

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