Bangalore, Sep 2 (Calcutta Tube) The Congress Wednesday asserted that Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa‘s government has given mining leases to 15 companies in the last two years, contrary to his claims that no permit was issued or renewed by his regime.
‘We have documents to show that Yeddyurappa permitted mining leases to 15 firms and recommended to the central government to give permission to mine to nine companies in about 1,000 acres,’ former leader of the Congress party in the legislative council V.S. Ugrappa told reporters here.
Releasing the documents, Ugrappa and K.C. Kondaiah, a member of the legislative council, charged Yeddyurappa with misleading the people with his repeated assertions that during his two year rule he has not renewed or given fresh mining licenses or leases.
‘He has not only given fresh leasesto 15 companies, he has also recommended to the central government to permit mining by nine firms,’ the two Congress leaders said.
Yeddyurappa has been blaming the previous Congress government in the state, as also at the centre, for the rampant illegal mining of iron ore in the state.
He has banned the export of iron ore from Karnataka and also transportation of the ore for export from other states. He has, however, acknowledged that illegal mining and transport of iron ore for export is on despite the ban announced July 29.
Yeddyurappa told reporters here Tuesday that over 100,000 tonnes of illegally stocked iron ore has been seized after he announced the ban.
Ugrappa said between June 13, 2008, less than a month after Yeddyurappa assumed office as chief minister, and Nov 6, 2009, he had sanctioned lease of land for mining to 15 companies.
Between Aug 7, 2008 and June 22, 2009, Yeddyurappa had recommended to the central government to permit nine companies to mine in over 1,000 acres, Ugrappa said demanding the chief minister’s resignation for telling ‘lies’.
Yeddyurappa has been facing flak over illegal mining ever since he came to power as two of his ministers, G. Janardhana Reddy and his elder brother G. Karunaraka Reddy, are accused of largescale illegal mining both in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The brothers own Obulapuram Mining Company which has most of its mines in Andhra Pradesh. They have denied indulging in illegal mining and export of iron ore.
The Congress has been demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged illegal mining by the Reddy brothers.
Yeddyurappa has rejected the demand and said the matter is being probed by the state Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde, a retired Surpeme Court judge.