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Illegal mining issue rocks K'taka Council

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, July 6 (UNI) Disputing Karnataka Forests Minister C Chennigappa's claim that the U B Singh Committee report on illegal mining in forest lands in the State was yet to be submitted to the Government, the Opposition Congress today staged a dharna in the Legislative Council, demanding the immediate tabling of the report.

When Mr M P Nada Gouda rpt Mr M P Nada Gouda(JD-U) raised the issue during question hour, Leader of the Opposition H K Patil said a power-point presentation had been given to the Chief Minister by Mr Chennigappa. Though the report, containing a list of illegal miners, was available with the Government, it was trying to hush up the matter, he alleged.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Basavaraj S Horatti, speaking on behalf of the Chief Minister, and Leader of the House and Higher Education Minister D H Shankaramurthy sought some more time to table the report in the House.

Dissatisfied with the reply, the Congress members staged a dharna in the well of the House, following which Acting Chairman Sachidanand Khot adjourned the House for lunch break.

When the House re-assembled, the Congress members continued their dharna.

Mr Shankaramurthy said the Government had presented the available facts and information related to the issue and sought more time to provide further information.

Mr Chennigappa denied that the Committee had submitted its report on the alleged illegal mining and said it would be tabled in the House once the Government received it.

Contesting the claim, Mr Patil said that according to his information, the Government had received the report and by not placing it in the House, the Government was ''concealing something.'' The issue was serious as the Minister himself had alleged that over 25 State officials were involved in the Rs 25,000 crore mining scam he said.

Congress member Ravi said the Government had stopped all mining activities in Kanakapura taluk in Bangalore Rural district after constituting the Committee. However, in Bellary district, it was continuing without any hitch, he added, demanding that the State Government order stopping mining activities in that district also till it received the report.

Intervening, Mr Horatti said the Government would share all the information it had pertaining to illegal mining activities and furnished details about a few mining companies whose licences were cancelled for their alleged involvement in illegal mining activities in Tumkur, Bellary and Bangalore Rural districts.

Notwithstanding the Minister's appeal, the Congress stuck to its stand and continued the dharna.

Mr Khot, who had earlier convened a meeting of floor leaders of parties to break the impasse, said the Government had provided whatever information it had and appealed to the members to resume their seats. As his plea fell on deaf ears, he adjourned the House to tomorrow.


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