Illegal mining: Cabinet decision on Lokayukta findings within a week

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iron-ore-miningBangalore, Sep 6, 2013: Law Minister T B Jayachandra said that the State Cabinet on Friday discussed at length the action to be taken on the Karnataka Lokayukta’s findings on illegal mining and, a final decision was likely to be taken in a week’s time.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, he said the Cabinet discussed all issues pertaining to the Lokayukta report. “Decisions will be taken in the next Cabinet meeting. We (the government) will fulfill all the promises made on the issue,” he added.

The Lokayukta in its explosive report had pegged the total loss to the State exchequer due to illegal mining at Rs 16,500 crores. The report had indicted prominent politicians, including the then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, minister G Janardhana Reddy and over 600 officials of the State government.

The Lokayukta had recommended that the government should recover five times the loss.  Illegal mining during 2006 and 2010 was probed by the Lokayukta. The Congress, which was the principal opposition party in 2010, had taken out a padayatra to the iron ore-rich Bellary district from Bangalore, demanding a CBI probe into illegal mining.

The party had also made the same promise in its manifesto for the 2013 Assembly elections.The Cabinet also ratified a special investigation team (SIT) headed by ACCF Deep Sharma set up during the previous BJP government to conduct a comprehensive probe into the findings of the Lokayukta report.

The SIT was formed based on the recommendation of a high-level committee, which was set up to suggest steps to be taken on implementing the Lokayukta report.
The Cabinet took number of decisions to attract industrial investment in the State. It approved a proposal to amend the Karnataka Industries Facilitation Act to ensure speedy clearance of industrial projects.

The proposed amendment seeks to authorise High Level Clearance Committee to approve projects that are worth Rs 100 crores and above; projects worth Rs 15 crores to Rs 100 crores to State level single window committee and those worth Rs three crores to Rs 15 crores to district level committees.

The Cabinet decided to come out with an Aerospace policy for the State to attract investment in the sector. A number of aerospace companies from across the globe have evinced interest to invest in Bangalore. The government wants to cash-in on this eagerness and hence wants to have a separate policy for the sector. It was also decided to set up an aerospace park and a tool room at Devanahalli, Jayachandra added.

The Cabinet, he said, approved to release of Rs 30 crores under the Critical Industrial Infrastructure Development Fund to provide basic facilities like road and water supply to industrial areas.

All ration cards in the state, including the APL and BPL cards, will be re-issued in the name of a woman member of the family to empower women. The Cabinet took this decision as per the Centre’s Food Security Act. It decided to adopt the Act and implement it from November 2 this year, the Minister said.

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