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Govt cancels mining licence for Karnataka firm

Govt cancels mining licence for Karnataka firm

Thiruvananthapuram: The State government Wednesday cancelled the permission granted to Karnataka based private company MSPL Limited for mining of iron ore from Chakkittapara, forming part of the Western Ghats in Kozhikode district, following allegations of irregularities.

The Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Industries Department in this regard, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after a meeting here.

The Industries Department had put up a note to the Cabinet to cancel the permission granted by the previous CPI-M-led LDF government.

Asked whether government would order a probe into the allegation of irregularities and corruption, Chandy said his government would examine all aspects of the issue and then take a decision on an inquiry into granting permission.

However, he assured that "if someone is guilty, they would not be allowed to escape and no innocent person would be harassed...," he said.

Cabinet decided to cancel the permission considering the allegations over decision of the previous government and also in the light of Centre's order to ban mining in the area.

The proposed mining site has been demarcated as ecologically sensitive area in the Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats conservation.

The clearance for mining was given in 2009. The issue came to light recently when a team of officials from the company reached the site for conducting survey prior to mining.

Meanwhile, Elamaram Kareem, Industries Minister in the previous LDF government, denied the allegations and said he was ready to face any probe.

Kareem also rejected the allegation of corruption in the deal and said "the issue of granting mining licence has not come before the cabinet as a policy matter."

The Licence for mining was not given during LDF regime, he said, adding, a letter sent to the Centre seeking permission for the company to conduct a survey has been interpreted as an order for mining.

Kareem was responding to reports that bribery has taken place for granting licence for mining in Chakkittapara.

One Naushad, a confidant of Kareem accepted bribe, reports quoting Naushad's driver, Subair, alleged.

Speaking to reporters at Palakkad, Kareem said Subair is a congressmen and an accused in a cheque bouncing and sex racket cases. "Subair is a man without any credibility', he added.


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