Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the State to ensure that permits for mining iron ore were be given to only those industries and firms that had steel plants.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice V.G. Sabhahit passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by Satyamurthy, a resident of Bangalore.

The petitioner submitted that the State was losing revenue heavily as it was not directly involved in mining iron ore. He said while the State was being paid a measly sum as royalty, private firms that had been granted license to mine iron ore in Bellary and other places were making huge profits.

The court was told that most of the ore was being exported to other countries, including China. Many steel units in India had either closed down or are operating below capacity as there is no sufficient and regular supply of iron ore.

The Bench orally observed that it had all along been asking the State to ensure that permits are given to companies that have industrial plants. This would not only generate employment but also ensure that the State’s rich mineral wealth remained within Karnataka and the benefits were reaped by the local people.