Facing heat from Congress over the illegal mining issue, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Sunday asserted that no new mining licences had been granted by the BJP government after coming to power.

“After coming to power, we neither gave new mining licences nor renewed them without value addition. Mining is going on with licences issued by previous governments. As per the new mining policy, there is provision only for value addition and no provision to export the ore,” he said after unfurling the tricolour on the 64th Independence Day.

Orders prohibiting iron export from 10 ports was a “revolutionary” step taken by his government to curb illegal mining and export of iron ore, the Chief Minister said.

On the border row between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belgaum, he said the city is an “integral part of Karnataka” and that the government would not allow Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti to create “unnecessary confusion and disturbances” on the matter.

Stating that mining cannot be completely stopped, he said it should be restricted by limited supply to local industry and ensuring there was no negative environmental impact.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said the new mining policy had resulted in steel giants like the Arcelor Mittal and Posco coming forward to establishing industries in the State.

Calling for steps to eradicate terrorism and Naxalism, he appealed to the people to stand united to face challenges posed to unity and sovereignty of the nation.

He said his government had also empowered Lokayukta by vesting it with suo moto powers to investigate higher officers up to Chief Secretary rank and appointed an Upalokayukta.

Holding successive governments after the 1970s responsible for the power crisis, Mr. Yeddyurappa said the state has targeted a minimum of 5000 MW generating capacity in the 11th five year plan.

“Accordingly, we have given approval for implementation of power projects of about 16,000 MW capacity,” he said.

About metro rail service in Bangalore, he said it would become operational by the year end. Rs 600 crore has been earmarked for the first stage of the project and 75 per cent of the work had been completed, he added.

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