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Cong, JD-S MLAs to continue Assembly sit-in

By The Assam Tribune

Bangalore, July 13 (IANS): Having spent the night in the Karnataka Assembly, Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislators in the State were on Tuesday set to camp out some more with leaders saying their 24-hour protest would continue until the ruling BJP agreed to a CBI probe into illegal mining in the State.

"We will continue the 24-hour dharna in the Assembly till the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the State agrees to our demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into rampant illegal mining of iron ore in the State," leader of Opposition in the Assembly and Congress leader Siddaramaiah told reporters on Tuesday.

JD-S leader HD Revanna agreed and said his party's legislators would not leave till the demand was met.

Siddaramaiah also announced that Congress was planning a 300 km 'padyatra' (walk) from Bangalore to Bellary to take on BJP ministers and mining magnates, the Reddy brothers.

The planned 'padyatra' is to re-establish the Congress base in the iron-ore rich Bellary district, which has become a stronghold of Reddy brothers. Bellary was a Congress bastion till 2004 but now the Reddys' domination over the district is near total.

The Reddy brothers, Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy, his elder brother and Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy, and younger brother and Assembly member G Somashekara Reddy, are accused of large-scale illegal mining in Bellary as well as neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The brothers own the Obulapuram Mining Company.

BS Yeddyurappa, BJP's first chief minister in Karnataka, has rejected the call to request the central government to order a CBI probe into illegal mining. He has instead suggested a probe by Karnataka Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde.

"Let the Lok Ayukta probe illegal mining since 2003 (when Congress was in power) till now," he told the legislative council on Monday.

Hegde, a retired Supreme Court judge, recently quit citing government indifference to fighting corruption and checking illegal mining. He withdrew the resignation on the request of senior BJP leader L.K. Advani.

Between 2003 and now, over 30 million tonnes of iron ore has been illegally mined and exported from Karnataka causing a huge revenue loss.

Congress and JD-S claim that the illegal mining scam is worth around Rs.60,000 crore (Rs 600 billion).

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Cong, JD-S MLAs to continue Assembly sit-in

Bangalore, July 13 (IANS): Having spent the night in the Karnataka Assembly, Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislators in the State were on Tuesday set to camp out some more with leaders saying their 24-hour protest would continue until the ruling BJP agreed to a CBI probe into illegal mining in the State.

"We will continue the 24-hour dharna in the Assembly till the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the State agrees to our demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into rampant illegal mining of iron ore in the State," leader of Opposition in the Assembly and Congress leader Siddaramaiah told reporters on Tuesday.

JD-S leader HD Revanna agreed and said his party's legislators would not leave till the demand was met.

Siddaramaiah also announced that Congress was planning a 300 km 'padyatra' (walk) from Bangalore to Bellary to take on BJP ministers and mining magnates, the Reddy brothers.

The planned 'padyatra' is to re-establish the Congress base in the iron-ore rich Bellary district, which has become a stronghold of Reddy brothers. Bellary was a Congress bastion till 2004 but now the Reddys' domination over the district is near total.

The Reddy brothers, Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy, his elder brother and Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy, and younger brother and Assembly member G Somashekara Reddy, are accused of large-scale illegal mining in Bellary as well as neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The brothers own the Obulapuram Mining Company.

BS Yeddyurappa, BJP's first chief minister in Karnataka, has rejected the call to request the central government to order a CBI probe into illegal mining. He has instead suggested a probe by Karnataka Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde.

"Let the Lok Ayukta probe illegal mining since 2003 (when Congress was in power) till now," he told the legislative council on Monday.

Hegde, a retired Supreme Court judge, recently quit citing government indifference to fighting corruption and checking illegal mining. He withdrew the resignation on the request of senior BJP leader L.K. Advani.

Between 2003 and now, over 30 million tonnes of iron ore has been illegally mined and exported from Karnataka causing a huge revenue loss.

Congress and JD-S claim that the illegal mining scam is worth around Rs.60,000 crore (Rs 600 billion).