: Demanding the lifting of ban on iron ore-mining in certain parts of Karnataka, a large number ofminers staged a demonstration here Tuesday.
The protesters were from Ballari, Hospet, Chitradurga districts and surrounding areas staged the sit-in demonstration under the banner of Karnataka Gani Avalambithara Vedike.
The demonstrators consisted of also workmen, truckers and allied small-scale industries who, the organisers said, were the most affected as the ban has resulted in large- scale job losses and poverty.
They demanded that the government intervene to save their livelihood.
"Uncertainty looms large over the lakhs of mining dependents due to the discriminatory policies which are prevalent only in Karnataka mining sector and nowhere else," spokesperson of 'Karnataka Gani Avalambithara Vedike' Rajakumara S said while addressing the gathering.
He added that their livelihood became highly uncertain due to restrictions on production, e-auction and other activities, which resulted in lowering the mining capacity and causedstagnation in the iron ore industry.
Rajakumara said the production and dispatch from the leaseswere never fixed and fluctuated in accordance with the purchasing pattern of the steel industry.
Buyers of iron ore are allowed to buy freely from outsideKarnataka whereas sellers are not allowed to sell freelyresulting in a huge pile-up of inventory, he said.
Without a consistent and steady source of income, the lives of these mining dependents have become miserable and barely sustainable, he added.
"We urge the government to ensure our survival by allowingfree trade, giving preference to local iron ore over importsand ensuring regular business for truckers and lakhs of othermining dependents," the protestors said adding that a delegation handed over a memorandum to the officials of mining department.
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