Yeddyurappa urges Prime Minister to ban iron ore exports

     Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Saturday said that he has urged Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to ban the export of iron ore. The issue was raised during a meeting held in New Delhi to discuss the situation in Karnataka over mining scandals. "The Prime Minister was kind enough to give patient hearing on all issues, especially the issue of ore exploitation of the natural resources and need for banning of export of iron ore," Yeddyurappa said. "We have also requested the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of chief ministers of mineral rich states to discuss about the impact of excessive mining and related issues," he added. He also said that the Prime Minister has appreciated the steps taken by the Karnataka government regarding mining activities. The minister further said that the Lokayukta is being fully assisted by the state government to carry out the enquiry into the illegal mining row. Earlier, on Friday, Yeddyurappa had met Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, and apprised him of the initiative taken by him over illegal mining in the state. The Reddy brothers are facing allegations of illegal mining of iron ores by encroaching upon a large chunk of forestland in the area causing huge damage to the environment. Earlier, the apex court had appointed a Survey of India (SoI) panel to conduct a detailed mapping of the three mines of the Reddy brothers. The SoI submitted its report, saying mining should not be allowed till a fresh demarcation of the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border is complete. The Survey of India panel had given its nod to Reddy's 68.5-hectare iron ore mine, asserting that there was no major encroachment. The panel said that of the 68.5 hectares, only 66 hectares could be mined. The remaining 2.5 hectares were set aside for road construction. The panel found that the Reddys were mining in all 68.5 hectares.

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