K'taka govt fooled 6 cr people over iron ore export ban: Hegde

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Lokayukta Santosh Hegde
Bangalore, June 8: Disputing the BJP government's claims, Lokayukta Santosh Hegde today insisted that illegal mining and illegal export of iron ore were still going on in Karnataka.

"Illegal mining and illegal exports are still on. Earlier it was going through West Coast and now it is being carried through East Coast," Hegde said at a function here.

Asked to comment on the claims by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa that he has banned exports and checked illegal mining, Hegde retorted, "Illegal mining and illegal exports are still going on. Six crore people have been fooled."

He would submit the final report on illegal mining this month end, Hegde said at a function where he released a documentary on bears of Bellary sanctuary affected by mining operations.

"Essentially, earlier exports were done from Mangalore port, Karwar, Bilikere and Goa. There are some restrictions now from these areas. But iron ore is going now through Hagari border, via Andhra Pradesh, Vizag, Kakinada and Krishnapatnam," he said.

Hegde said it was he who had suggested ban on iron ore export in his report submitted to the state government in December 2008 as the royalty earned from it was meagre compared to the profits made by mining owners.

While mines owners paid Rs 27 per ton of 64 FE grade and Rs 17 for lower grade iron ore, they sold it for Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per ton, he said.

PTI

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