The 1,600-page Lokayukta report on mining in Karnataka — which lays bare a slew of irregularities amounting to crores of rupees and involving some of the biggest political bigwigs — has been discussed no more than twice in the Legislative Assembly since it was submitted a year ago on December 18, 2008. And what was discussed pertained to a mere two pages of the exhaustive report.
“Let them at least read the report,” was Lokayukta Santosh Hegde’s plea on the first anniversary of the report’s submission. The Government was to take action within three months of its submission, on the non-compliance of which he has earlier written to the Governor.
“The Government need not wait for the second part of the report to be submitted to take action on the first,” he said, adding that the report had “everything about what is happening in mining in Karnataka.”
He expressed anguish over no action being initiated on some of the salient points of the report that speak of environmental degradation of the worst order, violations at the inter-State border which threatens the “sovereignty of the two States in question” and corruption at every level of the operation. “It is going on merrily,” he said.
15 trips in one permit!
Citing an example of irregularity, Mr. Hegde said that each lorry transporting ore is given 30 days time for transport. “Whereas, it takes just one day for a truck to reach the farthest point to which the material can be transported in the State.” This, in effect, meant that 15 trips could be made in one permit.
The second part of the report, Mr. Hegde said, would also look at granite and sand extraction in Karnataka. The Lokayukta said that he was happy about the Governor taking a “pro-active view” of his report and writing to the Government. “Iron ore is not a re-generable resource and studies show that it will be exhausted in 25 to 30 years if we continue mining at this rate,” Mr. Hegde said.