KARNATAKA

Committee plans agitation opposing mining lease

Correspondent

CHIKMAGALUR: Kalkuli Vital Hegde, President of the Central Committee of the Tungabhadra Ulisi Horata Okkoota, said here on Saturday that the organisation will intensify its agitation if the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL) is provided a fresh mining lease. Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Hegde alleged that the Nippon Steel Company, Japan, the State Government and some KIOCL officials were planning to get a 20-year extension by providing misleading information to the Supreme Court, which has directed KIOCL to close down by December 30, 2005.

Mr. Hegde regretted that the State Government has adopted a conciliatory attitude towards the KIOCL by maintaining that if the company is closed down, its employees will be targeted by naxalites to garner support for their movement. He said the KIOCL should have closed down in 1995 after completing its 30-year lease period and called upon the Government to grant the mining lease in Ramanadurga in Bellary district. Mr. Hegde said the eco-system in the area was unique and the Supreme Court has ordered that Rs. 5 crores be spent ever year to conserve the ecology in the area. K.L. Ashok, general secretary of the okkoota, said representatives from eight districts, through which the Tungabhadra flows, had congregated in Shimoga last month and decided to oppose the continuation of mining activities by KIOCL.

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