KARNATAKA

Find another mining site for KIOCL, Government told

`SAVE KIOCL': Former Union Minister V. Srinivas Prasad (right) addressing presspersons on the KIOCL issue, in Mysore on Thursday. H.S. Krishnaswamy Iyengar (left), writer, and former Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University D. Jaware Gowda are seen. &# 151; Photo: M.A. Sriram

`SAVE KIOCL': Former Union Minister V. Srinivas Prasad (right) addressing presspersons on the KIOCL issue, in Mysore on Thursday. H.S. Krishnaswamy Iyengar (left), writer, and former Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University D. Jaware Gowda are seen. &# 151; Photo: M.A. Sriram  

Staff Correspondent

MYSORE: Even as the deadline to stop iron ore mining in Kudremukh is fast approaching, three prominent residents of Mysore have urged the Union and State governments to immediately provide an alternative mining region to Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL) to keep the company afloat.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, former Union Minister V. Sreenivas Prasad, former Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University D. Jaware Gowda and noted writer H.S. Krishnaswamy Iyengar stressed the need to protect the interests of the public sector company, which provides direct and indirect employment to nearly 10,000 people.

The demand comes in the wake of Supreme Court directive to KIOCL to stop mining in the Kudremukh area on December 31.

Social problem

Mr. Iyengar said the closure of the company will pose a long- term social problem as it employs a large number of people. He said: "The governments can move fast to provide 6.5 sq.km in Ramanadurga in Bellary district where the company can continue iron ore mining. This demand was made a year ago, but the State Government is yet to take a decision." KIOCL is among a few public sector companies that have remained competitive after globalisation, he said and added that the Union Government receive an annual revenue of Rs. 1,800 crores and the State exchequer about Rs. 300 crores through the sale of power and taxes. He asked: "Why is the Union Government keeping quiet when the company is on the verge of closure?"

Mr. Prasad said KIOCL's performance in the globalised era has been phenomenal as it has been recording profits for the last 12 years. Infrastructure worth nearly Rs. 4,000 crores will become redundant if an alternative site for mining is not found.

There may be a law and order problem if workers lose their jobs, he added.

Reiterating the KIOCL's stand to honour the Supreme Court's ruling, he said the company will appeal to the court to allow it to continue mining.

He appealed to Union Minister for Steel Ram Vilas Paswan to discuss the issue with the Prime Minister and the Law Minister to find a solution to the problem.

Prof. Jaware Gowda suggested that the matter be considered on humanitarian grounds.

He said the government and environmentalists should show concern for those who will be rendered jobless if the company decides to stop operations.

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