K'taka Cabinet panel to probe sale of land to JSW steel

Karnataka Cabinet sub-committee to examine sale of land to JSW Steel

In 2005, 2,000.58 acres was allocated to JSW; In 2007, another 1,666 acres were allotted

JSW logo. Credit: Reuters Photo

The Karnataka cabinet on Friday decided to constitute a cabinet sub-committee to examine the proposal on the sale of 2,000.58 acres land to JSW Steel in Ballari district and make a suitable recommendation.

"It was decided in 2005 to give 2,000.58 acres of government land at a Kurekuppa village near Toranagallu in Sandur taluk of Ballari to JSW. To examine it, a cabinet sub-committee will be constituted," Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said.

Speaking to reporters here after a cabinet meeting, he said Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has been authorised to constitute the sub-committee.

The previous Congress-JD(S) coalition government too had constituted a four-member cabinet sub-committee headed by the then Home Minister M B Patil to examine the proposal, as its decision to convert the lease of about 3,667 acres to JSW Steel at Ballari into the sale, in accordance with the initial agreement, had created a row.

Accusing the Congress-JD(S) coalition government of selling the land to the company at a throwaway price (Rs 1.22 -1.50 lakh per acre), the BJP, then in opposition, had held a two-day round-the-clock sit-in.

Yediyurappa, who was then a state BJP president, had even accused the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition of getting "kickbacks" for the sale of land.

In 2005, when Dharam Singh was the chief minister, the Cabinet had decided to give on lease-cum-sale arrangement 2,000.58 acres to JSW. An order on this was issued by the JD(S)-BJP coalition government that came to power thereafter when Kumaraswamy was chief minister and B S Yeddyurappa was industries minister.

In 2007, another 1,666 acres were allotted.

In another decision, after giving in-principle approval to create Vijayanagara as the state's 31st district, carving it out from the mine-rich Ballari, the cabinet today said it has identified taluks for the new district and will be issuing a notification.

Hosapet, Kudligi, Hagaribommanahalli, Kotturu, Huvina Hadagali and Harapanahalli will form part of the proposed Vijayanagara district, Madhuswamy said.

Six out of eleven taluks will be part of the new Vijayanagara district with Hospet as its headquarters, while remaining taluks will be in Ballari district, he added.

The cabinet has also approved a revised estimate of Rs 384 crore, enhancing it from the earlier Rs 220 crore for the development of Shivamogga airport.

Other decisions include appointing three more members- Bengaluru Police Commissioner, Divisional Railway Manager, and Managing Director Rail Infrastructure Development Company(Karnataka) Limited 'KRIDE'- to the committee overseeing the implementation of Bangalore Metro Rail Project.

The committee already consists of Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretaries Urban Development, Finance, Revenue Department, among others.

It has also approved the setting up of the centre of excellence for efficiency augmentation by Karnataka government along with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), which may cost about Rs 26.77 crore, he said. "It's a five-year project, we are now releasing Rs 17.6 crore," the minister said.

The centre is aimed at drawing advantage from emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and internet of things. The idea is to increase industrial production, increase efficiency in government services, supporting startups and innovation, among others.

The minister said "under the labour department, till now remaining leave upto 30 days could have been carried forward to next year by workers, today we have made provision to carry forward up to 45 days."

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