Supreme Court lifts ban on Karnataka iron ore exports

The Supreme Court Tuesday said that the ban on the export and transportation of iron ore in Karnataka will be revoked from April 20.

The apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik passed the interim order after it was told that the Karnataka Prevention of illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage of Minerals Rules for regulating iron ore mining and transportation have been notified April 1, 2011.

The court gave the Karnataka government 15 days that it had sought to put in place the infrastructure to enforce the new rules to prevent the illegal mining of iron ore and its transportation.

The court said that the state government would take into consideration the report of the Lokayukta (ombudsman) Santosh Hagde on illegal mining while implementing the rules.

The court noted that senior counsel K.V. Vishwanathan had told the apex court that the state government had taken the suggestion of Lokayukta seriously and would act on it.

The Karnataka government, by its notifications July 26 and 28 last year, had banned the export and transportation of iron ore. The ban came in the wake of widespread reports of illegal mining.

The July 2010 ban on the transportation and offshore movement of ore was only for six months so that the new rules could be put in place.

The Karnataka government published the rules Feb 5 to invite objections and suggestions.

The case would be heard next in the first week of May.

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