Truck drivers and other mining dependants from Hospet, Bellary, Chitradurga say they do not have a steady income since four years. “We are dependants on mining in our areas and earn our livelihood from it. Eighty percent people suffer from lack of employment. Above 30 thousand trucks are available and there is no regular work so face losses.” Sirajuddin,a truck driver.
The cap on production in Karnataka is 35 lakh metric tonnes. This is the only state that has e-auction. This policy also affects them. “Exporting contract is not regular due to e auction and this indirectly affects the labourers facing losses in irregular earnings. We want the e-auction system to be replaced,” said Murugesh BSV, a contractor. He added, “The station generates twenty lakh tonnes, but now the supply is not regular leading to distressed sales and livelihood of dependant miners is affected.”
Truck drivers are unemployed because the mining industry in these areas has no buyers causing losses on the dependants. “I hired trucks for transit of mining produce. Due to lack of buyers of the produce iron ore, transport industry is also affected. I could not run my trucks,” said Mehboob Basha, truck owner. He added that many people migrate to other districts in search of employment.
“Iron ore that is produced in these areas remains wasted as there are no buyers. We want the state to allow us to export the produce. With no business, mining dependants like truck drivers, workmen and others don’t receive payments,” said Hallaswamy D.C., Secretary of Employee Union, at Vendanta. According to the Odisha mining policy, the production cap is 75 million tonnes while in Karnataka it is 35 lakh metric tonnes.