Raising the pitch on the raging illegal mining issue, Janata Dal (United) today demanded that the Karnataka Legislative Assembly be kept under suspended animation and the Centre order a CBI probe.

A party delegation met Governor H R Bhardwaj and later held a dharna in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue here to highlight the issue of illegal mining.

“JD-U believes that it is the duty of our generation to protect and preserve mineral wealth which is the national wealth, for posterity. Hence, we also demand that mining be nationalised,” party State unit President Mallanagouda Nadgoud told reporters here.

The party said from the year 2000 to 2010 there has been exploitation of huge proportions of natural resources of the State.

“Illegal mining of this magnitude has not only caused loss to the state’s exchequer, but it has also damaged roads and bridges, denuded forests and hills,” the delegation told the Governor who they said gave a patient hearing.

In the process, it has also destroyed flora and fauna and wildlife, as also affected lives of millions of people in the State, causing health hazards. In addition, railways have been misused by overloading wagons, leading to damage of tracks in many areas, the party alleged.

JD-U said both the ruling party and opposition together have brought the Assembly to a stand-still.

“It is obvious that all the beneficiaries of this scandal are not interested in debates on this subject in the assembly for the fear of truth hurting their interests.

Instead, all the three major political parties (BJP, Congress and JD-S) have chosen to divert the people’s attention by taking to yatras,” the party said.

Under these “grave circumstances”, JD-U in Karnataka strongly feels that the assembly be kept under suspended animation, till both the ruling and opposition parties realise the importance of conducting the business of the House and day-to-day administration.

“As the scandal involves railways and export of minerals and also national highways, there is no need for the Centre to seek permission or consent from the State for initiating CBI inquiry,” Mr. Nadgoud said.