In the midst of a row over the resignation of the Lok Ayukta regarding the illegal mining in the state, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a ban on export of iron ore.
In a letter to Singh, he said "there is an urgent need to put in place a comprehensive policy to ban export of iron ore and to make it mandatory that iron ore and other such precious minerals are utilised for value addition within the country itself".
He urged the Prime Minister to call a meeting of Chief Ministers of mineral-rich states to take a decision to ban such "unbridled exports" of iron ore.
Illegal mining has emerged as a major political issue in Karnataka with three ministers of Yeddyurappa government and mining magnets of Bellary District -- Janaradhana Reddy, Karunakara Reddy and Sriramulu -- facing charges of illegal mining which they have denied.
Lokayukta Santosh Hegde had resigned citing "inaction" over illegal mining as one of the reasons for his decision. He, has, however, withdrawn his resignation.
The Chief Minister also conveyed his concerns over the issue of "over exploitation and illegal mining" in all mineral rich states of the country.
He said despite efforts by state governments, the problems of illegal mining and iron ore export persisted across the country.
"A major reason is the indiscriminate export of iron ore and other such minerals. Unless certain curbs are placed on export of iron ore etc, undue exploitation and illegal mining are likely to continue," Yeddyurappa said.
"Despite our best efforts, the pressure for exporting iron ore continues in a big way. Such unbridled exports of minerals from our country will only lead to loss of precious natural resources," he said.
At this rate, in a very few years, the country would exhaust all its mineral resources, he said adding "unless this is stopped, we will be doing a great dis-service to our future generations".
"In my opinion, it is high time we discontinue such a policy of exporting raw materials, particularly precious natural resources which are not renewable", he said.