Mining dependents in Karnataka protest job losses

Business Standard || Bengaluru || March 26, 2019

Around 6,000 mining dependents from Bellary and Chitradurga districts, as well as surrounding mining belts, protested here on Tuesday against the bad condition of the mining industry in Karnataka and appealed to the government to save their livelihoods.

The mining ban in the state has resulted in large-scale job losses, said members of Karnataka Gani Avalambithara Vedike (KGAV) who gathered at the Freedom Park here.

“Their livelihood became highly uncertain even after the Supreme Court permitted mining operations to start, as production cap, e-auction and lots of other restrictions lowered the mining capacity that has led to stagnation in the iron ore industry,” said KGAV spokesperson Rajakumar S.

“Lakhs of lives are hanging in uncertainty due to the discriminatory policies prevalent only in the Karnataka mining sector. This will not be found anywhere else across the globe,” he added.

According to the association, the production and dispatch from the leases are never fixed and fluctuate according to the purchasing pattern of the steel industry.

While buyers of iron ore are allowed to buy freely from outside Karnataka, sellers are not allowed to sell freely resulting in huge pile-up of inventory due to lack of sale, they added.

Besides, there is also loss of contribution to the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) when ore from areas outside the state is bought by Karnataka buyers.

In his appeal to the government, Rajakumar S. said: “We urge the government to ensure our survival by allowing free trade, giving preference to local iron ore over imports, and ensuring regular business for truckers and lakhs of other mining dependents.”

After the protest rally, a delegation of 15 members met the authorities to hand over a memorandum of appeal.