People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 43

October 23, 2011


CPI(M) MPs Visit Bellary


CPI(M) floor leader in Lok Sabha, Basudev Acharia, demanded that the Karnataka government must take over the iron ores presently in the custody of illegal miners in Bellary. He also asked the government to protect the mine labourers who have lost their jobs by showing them alternative employment.


Acharia made these demands while addressing a press conference in Bangalore on October 20 at the conclusion of a two day tour of CPI(M) parliamentary team in Bellary. He said the CPI(M) will organise a massive rally of workers in Bellary on these demands.


Around 70,000 workers are directly engaged with the mining industry while another two lakh workers are indirectly involved. The Supreme Court ban on mining in Bellary has made the workers jobless. The government must take sufficient measures to protect the workers, he demanded. About the iron ore still in the hands of the illegal miners, Acharia demanded that the government should take over those mines. He asserted that if the loot of nationís wealth has to be avoided then all mining should be under the direct control of the government. The CPI(M) parliamentary team would apprise the prime minister about this, he said.


The Karnataka government had given permission to 125 private firms to undertake mining operations in the state. According to the unofficial sources, these firms have been extracting 110 million tonnes of iron ore from Bellary and its surrounding areas alone.  But the official sources say that the government receives tax for only 20 million tonnes. Thus, around Rs 50,000 crore has been looted by these companies every year. At the same time, workers are being denied basic allowances. Instances of intimidation of workers to work at dirt cheap rates have also come to their notice, he said. Obulapuram Mining Company, owned by the infamous Reddy brothers, looted the nationís wealth with the help of a mining license obtained from neighbouring Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh government. Acharia said the BJP government in Karnataka and the UPA government at the centre have helped the Reddy brothers to loot.


CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member, K N Balagopal, CPI(M) Karnataka state committee member G N Nagaraj, CPI(M) Bellary district secretary Nagaraj, CITU state general secretary Prasanna Kumar accompanied the CPI(M) parliamentarians during their visit to Bellary, Hospet and Obulapuram.