NEW DELHI: The State of Karnataka has told the Supreme Court that it opposes lifting of the ban on export of iron ore excavated in the three districts Tumakuru, Chitradurga and Bellary of Karnataka.
It has said that the stand of the court appointed Central appointed committee (CEC) that the current situation warrants lifting of all the regulations is not backed by any material and is a substantial shift as against all its earlier stand. It added that the affidavit may be taken on record while deciding the broad issues relating to export and sale through e-auction.
"The public interest lies in disposal of these applications as a first step. It is submitted that it is one thing to contend that a certain amount has been accumulated in a fund and completely another to say that such amount has actually been used towards rehabilitation," it said in a written response filed before the top court.
The State has submitted that numerous orders of the court would show that the most emergent applications pertain to rehabilitation.
The Supreme Court on April 18 had reserved its order on the lifting of the ban on the export of iron ore in Karnataka. The court has asked the state of Karnataka to give a clear stand on resumption of export of iron ore in the state.
The Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Steel have supported the lifting of the ban on export of iron ore from three districts of Karnataka citing the SC-appointed Central empowered committee (CEC) reports which had said that the mining situation has improved since 2018.
During the course of the hearings last week, Chief Justice NV Ramana had said that they are only concerned with two issues right now which include the resumption of export of iron ore and whether e-auction should be allowed.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the NGO Samaj Parivartana Samudaya had said that environment and ecology are national assets which need to be preserved, and if unbridled export is allowed then there would be destruction of air and water.
Several advocates for respective stakeholders in the iron ore mining business had argued in favour of lifting the ban on export of iron ore.
"...I respectfully submit that the objective of the writ petition has been achieved. Illegalities have been removed. We are not proud of it but it can’t be continued till the time immemorial. CEC is like the amicus here. Your lordship should accept the recommendations," senior advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for Mineral Enterprises had said.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for the Federation of Indian mineral industries had also pleaded for lifting of the ban. "…I am only concerned about the temporary ban of pellet exports. The government had 5 per cent duty before this. Now it is 0 per cent ...The ban should be lifted on us because iron ore is not short in supply," he had said.