'Probe would take into account "all connected matters," including the company’s activities in Bellary district'

The Karnataka operations of the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), owned by Karnataka Tourism Minister Gali Janardhana Reddy, will also come under the ambit of the CBI inquiry requested by the Andhra Pradesh government into the company’s alleged irregularities, Union Minister for Labour and Employment and senior Congress leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge said here on Wednesday.

He told presspersons that the terms of reference of the inquiry made it very clear that the investigation would take into account “all connected matters,” including the company’s activities in Karnataka’s Bellary district as well as Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

“We had been asking for an inquiry for years, and mining activities have created an atmosphere of anxiety among people. I am glad it has finally happened now,” he said.

Asked whether Mr. Reddy should quit following the institution of an inquiry, he said it was “left to the decision of the party.”

Shelter for homeless

Speaking earlier at a function, Mr. Kharge said a constitutional amendment was in the offing to free the cooperative sector from political interference. He suggested that the Karnataka State Co-operative Housing Board come up with a plan to build 15 lakh houses in the next five years for providing shelter to the homeless.

Mr. Kharge said he and other Ministers from Karnataka recently met the Prime Minister and requested him to provide more houses in Karnataka under the Indira Awas Yojana, as many had lost their homes in floods. The Prime Minister agreed to their request, he added.

Housing Co-operative Board chairman and former Minister G.T. Deve Gowda sought greater autonomy for housing societies so that they could function more meaningfully. Legal hurdles in land acquisition by cooperative societies and 33 per cent tax on their profits should be removed to make them more efficient.