Illegal mining: PM Narendra Modi turns tables on Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

Prime Minister Narendra Modi went full throttle against the Siddaramaiah government here on Thursday.

Ballari: He was speaking from the home turf of the Reddy brothers, mining barons turned politicians, who have been a source of embarassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party with their alleged involvement in illegal iron ore mining, but refusing to let this deter him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went full throttle against the Siddaramaiah government here on Thursday, claiming illegal mining had risen during its tenure.

“Look at the rising illegal mining in the state. The Congress government didn’t bother to frame a strong mining policy over the last five years , but enacted a drama by leading a padayatra against illegal mining,” he charged, apparently referring to the Bengaluru to Ballari padayatra against illegal mining led by Mr Siddaramaiah, who was then the leader of the opposition.

Mr Modi who shared a dais with Ballari MP B Sriramulu, a close aide of former Minister, Gali Janardhan Reddy, who has been charged with illegal iron ore mining and the latter’s elder brother and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate for Ballari city, Gali Somashekhar Reddy, deplored in his 45 minute long speech at a rally here that a Minister , who was forced to resign for his involvement in illegal mining, had been re- inducted into the Congress ministry.

“Besides, people who went to jail over the mining scam have been given tickets to contest elections this time,” he noted, without actually naming Ballari in- charge Minister, Santosh Lad and MLAs Anand Singh and B Nagendra, who quit the BJP to join the Congress.

Reiterating his charge that no work was possible in Karnataka without corruption or bribery, Mr Modi said, “Karnataka has a Sidda-Rupaiah Sarkar. It has created a debt-burden for the state and the people can no longer tolerate it. They will give a strong reply on May 12.”

Coming to the defence of Ballari, he claimed the Congress had ruined its rich history and legacy by trying to paint it as a region of criminals and thugs. By defaming Ballari, it had disrespected its people , he declared, adding, “Ballari is the land of the Vijayanagar Empire. And the Centre has recognised Ballari’s legacy by printing an image of Hampi’s stone chariot on the Rs 50 currency note.”

Also, the National Democratic Alliance regime at the Centre, he said, had introduced a new mining law for the benefit of mining ravaged areas and established District Mineral Foundations in every district.

“In Karnataka about Rs 900 crore has accumulated under DMF, but only a meagre Rs 37 lakh has been spent on the welfare of the mining affected communities”, he regretted.

And unlike former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had forgotten all about the Rs 3,000 crore package for Ballari’s development she had promised when contesting from it in 1999, the last Bharatiya Janata Party government had released Rs 2000 crore for the district’s development, he recalled.

The Prime Minister also accused the Congress government of neglecting Ballari’s jeans industry and said the Centre had, on the other hand, come out wht a new textile policy to benefit the sector and create jobs for the locals.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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