Chief Minister favours value addition in mining

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Reacting to the letter by Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on illegal mining in Bellary, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa found fault with the Union of India for encouraging “mining as an industry”.

In a letter to the Union Minister, Mr. Yeddyurappa on Tuesday listed a series of “major and bold decisions” taken by the Karnataka Government to ensure that mining takes place in an environmentally sustainable manner.

He claimed that the main thrust of his Government’s mining policy had been on “value addition” instead of “mining for export”, which was pursued by the earlier governments.

“I hope you do appreciate the major and bold decisions taken by the Government of Karnataka in this regard, even though the Government of India is still encouraging ‘mining as an industry’ and ‘value addition’ is not being insisted upon,” he said before urging Mr. Ramesh to take up the issue with the Union Ministry of Mines to clearly come out with a new policy to encourage “mining for value addition” and discourage “mining for export”.

Mr. Yeddyurappa was reacting to Mr. Ramesh’s letter seeking an update on the steps taken by the State Government to stop illegal mining in Bellary.

The Chief Minister said, “You, being a new incumbent in the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests, may not have been briefed by your officers or by the State Government officers during your visit to Karnataka on the steps initiated by the State Government…”

Mr. Yeddyurappa ends the letter by stating, “I do agree with you that is not a matter of partisan politics, but is a matter that essential for our collective ecological security…..”

Meanwhile, Mr. Yeddyurappa has written a separate letter to Union Minister for Mines B.K. Handique seeking a hike in royalty on iron ore to meet the cost of repairs of roads damaged by frequent movement of vehicles transporting iron ore.