A day after ordering closure of 10 ports in the State to prevent illegal export of iron ore, the Karnataka government today announced it will ban issue of permits to transport the mineral for exports.
“An order banning issue of permits to transport iron ore for exports will be issued tomorrow. However, firms engaged in mining are free to supply the material to steel plants in the State for value addition,” Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa told reporters here.
On Monday, the government ordered closure of the ports, except in Mangalore, which falls under Central jurisdiction, to check illegal export of iron ore, an issue over which the BJP government has been facing flak from Congress and JDS.
Mr. Yeddyurappa slammed the Congress, which has embarked on its 320-km ‘Bellary chalo’ padayatra, demanding a CBI probe into the issue, besides his government’s resignation, saying those who have ‘looted’ the State were levelling such allegations.
He said the Opposition had paralysed the recent legislature session over the issue, without discussing issues of public import.
Claiming that most States had supported his view for a ban on iron ore exports at the recent NDC meeting, Mr. Yeddyurappa said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may soon convene a meeting of chief ministers concerned to discuss the issue.
He said he had briefed BJP president Nitin Gadkari and senior party leaders, including L. K. Advani on the steps taken by his government to check illegal mining in Karnataka.
Mr. Yeddyurappa said he would also hold consultations with intellectuals and writers and seek their opinion on ways to preserve natural resources.
The Chief Minister, who has come under attack from Congress over illegal iron ore export, said he would not urge that party to call off its ‘padayatra’ as he has already taken some steps to address the issue, including ordering a Lokayukta probe.
“They (Congress leaders) have been taking swipes at me. There is no question of asking them to call of their stir,” he declared, as the Congress ‘padayatra’ entered the third day today.