E071710_Unscrupulous_Mining_Lobby - EDITORIALS Economic&...

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Unformatted text preview: EDITORIALS Economic & Political Weekly EPW july 17, 2010 vol xlv no 29 9 A political controversy has raged in Karnataka since the resignation of the Lok Ayukta N Santosh Hegde in late June over his inability to curb illegal mining in the state. The Lok Ayukta cited non-cooperation from the state govern- ment even as his department found prima facie evidence of over- loading of trucks with ore beyond permissible limits, and their easy transport through negligent check posts at the state’s borders. Even as the political opposition has demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the cases of illegal mining, the political clout enjoyed by the mining lobby within the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has thus far prevented the state government from doing anything worthwhile to address the complaints. More so, considering that the mining lobby – identified with the “Reddy brothers”, G Karunakara Reddy, G Janardana Reddy and G Somasekara Reddy from Bellary and their cohorts – had the state government on tenterhooks last year, by threatening to lead a revolt of BJP legislators. The storm was weathered only after officials and ministers – seen to be obstacles to the unhindered mining activities by the lobby – were removed from government. Despite accepting that practices of illegal mining persist in the state, the chief minister has been both unable and unwilling to take sufficient action, fearful of the clout wielded by the Reddy brothers, seen as immense political assets by the right wing BJP ....
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