Karnataka Mining Scam Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:25:15
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Karnataka is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act. Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973. Bangalore is the capital city of the state and is at the forefront of the rapid economic and technological development that India is experiencing. Karnataka, like other Indian states, has a parliamentary system of government with two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.

Politics in Karnataka Politics in Karnataka has been dominated by three political parties, the Indian National Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Politicians from Karnataka have played prominent roles in federal government of India; three cabinet levels ministers in the current United Progressive Alliance government are from Karnataka. Notable among these is Former Chief Minister and Honorable Union Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Veerappa Moily.

Illegal Mining Illegal mining in India is widespread in various ore rich states of India, and has generated controversy, which spans encroachment of forest areas, underpayment of government royalties, conflict with tribals regarding land rights. The spill-over of the effects of illegal mining into problems such as Naxalism and the distortion of Indian democracy by mixed political and mining interests, has gained international attention.

Illegal Iron Ore Mining in Karnataka The fast growing demand for iron ore accompanied by the sky-high profits involved started the discovery and the subsequent exploitation of iron ore in the Bellary region of Karnataka. Karnataka has an economy that is not specific to one particular natural resource. However, this discovery led to iron ore contributing to the single largest income of the state. In this industry, however, are two politicians who have monopolized the profits the infamous Reddy brothers Janardhana Reddy, and Karunakara Reddy. Reports and investigations that have been carried out prior to the assent of Mr. Santosh Hegde as the Lokayukta chief, has proved the existence of illegal mining in the state, and the involvement of the Reddy brothers in the same.

However, the reports have been suppressed, and subsequently lost in order to cover up a major scandal. Now, the reality has been unearthed and shamelessly barred open for the country to see, causing a scam of reasonably huge magnitude. The Issue The current ruling political party in Karnataka, the BJP, underwent quite a turn of events in the past few months. With the resignation of Lokayukta justice Santosh Hedge, the illegal mining scam took a forefront.

The power of Bellarys mining lobby in Karnatakas politics in recent years has never been questioned. However, their exercise of it has become more blatant and overt under the BJP government, which has the powerful mining lords, the Reddy brothers, as its cabinet ministers. While the opposition has made sporadic efforts to bring the mining issue to the forefront of the political debate, it took the resignation of the hugely popular Lokayukta, Justice N Santosh Hegde, to catalyze the opposition and take the fight, literally, to the BJP government.

It was the Lokayuktas decision to protect an honest officer who had unearthed a huge export scam ” running into thousands of crores ” in Karwar involving illegal mining that led the former to resign. BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, on a trip to the city to persuade Justice Hegde to withdraw his resignation, went on record to say that illegal mining will be stopped. This situation put the CM Yeddurappa in a difficult position and he admitted publicly about the illegal mining actually being a reality.

Yeddyurappa, however was not in a position to take adequate steps as the Reddy brothers, played an important role in the Karnataka governments financial and majority related issues. Growing Opposition pressure on the Karnataka government to act against the Reddy brothers and their alleged illegal mining in Bellary left the BJP divided. The party looked for a consensus on how to handle the situation. Two groups emerged one backing Karnataka Chief Minister Y. S. Yeddyurappa and the other the Reddy brothers. Among the supporters of the Reddys were BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar.

Their argument was that the Reddys enjoy considerable support in their areas and any action against them would harm the party. But BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and even L. K. Advani refused to buy the argument. They put their weight behind Yeddyurappa. On July 9, the House was adjourned amidst pandemonium after the Congress and JD-S members tried to raise the issue but were allegedly threatened by Reddy brothers ” Janardhana Reddy, Karunakara Reddy ” and Somashekhara Reddy along with two other MLAs, Suresh Babu and B Nagendra.

The Congress alleged that the Reddys also tried to assault its MLAs. On July 12, the Opposition MLAs arrived in the Assembly wearing mining helmets. Speaker K Bopaiah objected to it. After that, the Congress and JD(S) MLAs came and sat in the Well. The opposition in the form of the congress government took steps to make full use of the BJPs weakness in the state as it lashed at the ruling government with examples of its past corrupt practices. As on July 20th, Karnataka CM, gave a clean chit to the brothers and said that the case has to be looked into.

He said he had no apprehensions about removing them from the cabinet; however, first they have to be proven guilty by law. A day after the Karnataka government ordered a probe by his institution into illegal export of minerals, Lokayukta Santosh Hegde said he would seek information from the Centre and Andhra Pradesh on the quantum of iron ore exported illegally through various ports. The Yeddyurappa government referred illegal export of minerals, including iron ore, from 2000 till date to Lokayukta probe, after the opposition stepped up their campaign and demanded a CBI probe into the issue.

This snowballed into a four-day session in the parliament just to argue on this ambiguity which was criticized by Mr. Santosh Hegde recently as mockery of democracy referring to the expenses entailed for each day in running such a parliament. The most recent development on this is that the state government has rejected the opposition demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the mining scam in the state. N Santosh Hegde on 28th August stated that the services of the CBI could be required in the later stages of investigations.

The Congress had taken out a Bellary Chalo march seeking a CBI probe into illegal mining scam which went unnoticed. Opposition members stayed in the Assembly overnight, sleeping in the lobby, with no let-up in their demand for a CBI enquiry into what Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah termed a Rs 20,000 crore scam. The opposition accused the ministers-cum-mining magnets Reddy brothers ” G Janardhana Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy of involvement in the alleged multi-crore scam.

The Karnataka government had seized huge quantities of ore illegally extracted in the state, and corruption in mining sector in Karnataka would be to tune of Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore. Commenting on this issue, Union Law and Justice Minister M Veerapa Moily said Mineral resources, as national properties, should not be allowed to be plundered and stringent steps had to be taken to check the illegal mining in Karnataka. Off-shoot on the issue

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) members created ruckus and demanded the dismissal of the Karnataka government over the issue of illegal mining in the state. Settling political scores with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which targeted Uttar Pradeshs BSP government over the issue of farmers killings in Aligarh district last week, the BSP hit at the BJP government in Karnataka, seeking its dismissal. BSP and JD-S members demanded the dismissal of the Karnataka government for its alleged involvement in illegal mining in the state.

The three Reddy brothers ” Tourism Minister Janardhan Reddy, Revenue Minister Karunakara Reddy and Somashekhara Reddy ” have allegedly encroached on forest land to conduct illegal iron ore mining operations in Karnataka say BSP leaders. Currently, the situation has toned down, and there is a lull in the Karnataka government as investigations are being carried out with vigor by the Lokayukta. It has submitted a letter recently seeking permission to approach the state governments of Goa and Andhra Pradesh to unearth the quantum of iron ore exported from ports of these two states.

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