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Bad news for Bellary bros: Iron ore export banned

Karnataka has banned the export of iron ore and other minerals with immediate effect, following charges of illegal mining against the powerful mining barons Reddy brothers, two of whom are ministers in the state cabinet. HT Correspondent reports.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2010 01:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Karnataka has banned the export of iron ore and other minerals with immediate effect, following charges of illegal mining against the powerful mining barons Reddy brothers, two of whom are ministers in the state cabinet.

The ban, issued on Monday, bars the export of minerals from all the 10 ports of Karnataka except the Mangalore port, which is controlled by the central government, the chief minister’s office said on Thursday.

The move follows the state opposition Congress’s launch of a 320-km march, called Bellary Chalo Padyatra, to take on the Reddy brothers in their hometown of Bellary. The 22-day march was launched on Sunday.

The BJP government has also banned the issue of permits to transport iron ore and other minerals for export. This will prevent miners from moving consignments on trucks to ports in neighbouring states.

Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa had said in the state assembly this month that at least 30 million tonnes of iron ore had been illegally exported from Karnataka since 2003.

The opposition has alleged that three Reddy brothers — tourism minister Janardhan Reddy, revenue minister Karunakara Reddy and Somashekhara Reddy — encroached on forest land to facilitate illegal iron ore mining operations. The Congress has pegged the illegal mining scam at Rs 60,000 crore.

RV Deshpande, who heads the state unit of the Congress, described the export ban as “an eyewash”.

“Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa is attempting to save the Reddy brothers, who are accused of illegal mining, at the cost of honest businessmen. The state government should order a CBI probe,” Deshpande said.

Industry leaders criticised the ban, which they said would devastate their business. They may also start legal proceedings against it.

But the Reddy brothers, who claim innocence, welcomed the ban.

First Published: Jul 29, 2010 18:12 IST