Did S M Krishna, Minister for External Affairs, support illegal mining in Karnataka during his tenure as chief minister between 1999 and 2004? A Dharwad-based non-government organisation, National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR) has released documents that show that Krishna did not act against the illegal miners in the state.
Krishna did not take any action against the Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMS) which had encroached upon the mining lease of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) in its lease (ML 1111) in Kumaraswamy Blocks in Bellary district and extracted iron ore, NCPNR founder president S R Hiremath has alleged.
“When the then minister of state for steel Dilip Ray brought to the notice of Krishna the illegalities of DMS and asked him to cancel the mining lease of the company, Krishna did not take steps to cancel its lease. This was a serious violation of MMDR Act,” Hiremath told reporters.
Releasing the copy of the letter wrote by Ray to Krishna and latter’s response to media, here on Wednesday, Hiremath said the DMS was involved in very serious irregularities as brought out by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and on the basis of which the Supreme Court has ordered the CBI investigation on September 23, 2011.
“DMS illegally extracted iron ore since 1993-94 over an area of 20.7 acres in NMDC lease area and when this was brought to the notice of S M Krishna by the steel minister through correspondence, he did not take steps to cancel their lease,” Hiremath alleged.
In fact, all these irresponsible acts led to the most irresponsible act of renewal of mining lease of DMS in 2006 by N Dharam Singh government and show the connivance of subsequent governments, he said.
Contrary to the statement of Krishna, the NCPNR has made a list of mining leases sanctioned / recommended during his tenure as chief minister of Karnataka. The information unearthed by NCPNR, which is still being analysed shows that dozens of leases being sanctioned or recommended during the tenure of four chief ministers of Karnataka. S M Krishna sanctioned seven leases and recommended 8 leases, one of which was rejected by the Central government. Dharam Singh and H D Kumaraswamy recommended 40 leases each while B S Yeddyurappa has recommended 20 leases.