Mining dependents in Karnataka, India, ask Supreme Court panel to allow free iron ore trade

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A group of mining dependents in Karnataka has requested the Supreme Court-appointed panel to allow free iron ore trade and give preference to local ore over imports, stating that various restrictions on mining in the state have made their livelihood uncertain.

Mining dependents pointed out caps on mining volume, e-auction and other restrictions have lowered the mining capacity and led to stagnation in the iron ore industry.

The Supreme Court had appointed the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to look into issues related to iron ore mining in Karnataka.

“We appeal to CEC’s good office to protect Karnataka’s domestic iron ore industry and its dependents from being extinct by allowing free trade, giving preference to local iron ore over imports (and) ensuring regular business of truckers and lakhs of other mining dependents,” Karnataka Gani Avalambithara Vedike (KGAV), which represents mining dependents, said.

“We, the mining dependents in the state of Karnataka are appealing to your good office to take immediate action in order to secure our means of livelihood and opportunity to lead a life with dignity, which was under threat,” KGAV said.

After mining was banned in Karnataka, scores of people dependent on iron ore mining industry including truckers and small scale industries, were hit as it resulted in job loss and extreme cases of poverty, it said.

“Our livelihood became highly uncertain even after the Supreme Court permitted to start mining but, with a cap, e-auction and lots of other restrictions which lowered the mining capacity and led to stagnation in iron ore industry,” it said adding that such discriminatory policies are prevalent only in Karnataka.

Without consistent and steady source of income, the lives of mining dependents have become most miserable and barely sustainable, it said. “Hence we request your good self to consider the deteriorating situation of the mining dependents in the state of Karnataka and take urgent necessary actions including representation before the Supreme Court to redress the present situation,” it said.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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