Karnataka Gani Avalambithara Vedike (KGAV)
26th March 2019, Bengaluru: Around 6000 people of ‘Karnataka Gani Avalambithara Vedike’ consisting of Iron ore Mining dependants from Bellary, Hospet, Chitradurga districts and surrounding mining belt gathered for a dharna (protest) today at Freedom Park in Bengaluru, in order to appeal to the Govt. to save their livelihood, which is under threat.
After the mining was banned in the state of Karnataka, lakhs of persons dependent upon the iron ore mining industry such as workmen, truckers and allied small scale industries were the most affected as it resulted in large scale job losses and extreme cases of poverty.
Their livelihood became highly uncertain even after the Hon’ble Supreme Court permitted to start mining but, production cap, e-auction and lots of other restrictions lowered the mining capacity that led to stagnation in iron ore industry.
Mr. Rajakumara S, spokesperson, ‘Karnataka Gani Avalambithara Vedike’ mentioned, “Lakhs of mining dependents’ life is hanging in uncertainty today due to the discriminatory policies which are prevalent only in Karnataka mining sector and nowhere across the globe.”
The production and dispatch from the leases are never fixed and fluctuate in accordance with the purchasing pattern of the steel industry. Buyers of Iron ore are allowed to buy freely from outside Karnataka whereas sellers are not allowed to sell freely resulting in huge pile up inventory due to no sale. Without a consistent and steady source of income, the lives of these mining dependents have become miserable and barely sustainable.
In addition to the loss of livelihood, there is a loss of contribution to District Mineral Foundation (DMF) when ore from areas outside the state is bought by buyers situated in Karnataka.
Overall, this issue has become a big social crisis as mining areas are also drought prone areas in the state that has further worsened the prospects of livelihood opportunities.
In his appeal to the Govt., Mr. Rajakumara S requested, “We urge the Govt. 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 dharna, a representation by 15 persons was made to the concerned Govt. authorities and a memorandum of appeal was handed over.