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Illegal mining issue: Congress stages walkout

Written by: Staff
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Bangalore, Mar 28 (UNI) The Opposition Congress today staged a walkout in the Karnataka Legislative Council, protesting against the Government's delay in ordering a CBI inquiry into the illegal iron ore mining activities in Bellary district to the tune of crores of rupees.

The House proceedings began amid dharna by the Congress for the second consecutive day, seeking a personal reply on the issue from the Chief Minister. The dharna forced Council Chairman V R Sudarshan to adjourn the House for a brief period. The Congress members withdrew their dharna only after the Chief Minister came to the House at 1220 hrs.

Leader of the Opposition in the Council H K Patil, who had yesterday initiated a discussion on the issue, said there was a need for setting up a House Committee to get a first hand report about the menace. He asked the Government what action it had taken to stop illegal mining, with 20 days having passed since it was reported to the Government.

Forests Minister C Chennigappa had submitted a report, dated March six, to the Chief Minister, highlighting the prevalence of illegal mining in Bellary district. The report was tabled in the House yesterday and a discussion on the issue culminated with the Congress staging a dharna in the well of the House. The Congress members objected to Mr Chennigappa reading out a written statement of the Chief Minister. They insisted that the Chief Minister should personally attend the Council and offer a reply as they had to seek some clarifications.

Replying to the issue in the House, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said the Government was committed to put an end to illegal mining and would not remain silent. His Government was open minded and result-oriented action would be taken. He had already ordered stopping of illegal mining, he pointed out.

However, he sought time for ordering an inquiry as opinion had to be taken from more than half a dozen departments like Mines, Forests, Environment, Transport and Police, before taking action.

The Congress members pressed with their demand for a CBI inquiry as the illegal act assumed inter-State proportions. The JD(U) members also joined with the Congress in demanding a CBI inquiry.

Dissatisfied with the Chief Minister's reply, the Congress members staged a walkout.

UNI SIV GD LS RK1710

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