Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has constituted a four-member cabinet sub-committee headed by state Home Minister MB Patil to examine the proposal regarding the sale of 3,667 acres land to JSW Steel at Ballari and make a suitable recommendation. The other members of the cabinet sub-committee include Cooperation Minister Bandeppa Kashempur, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda and Social Welfare Priyank Kharge. The Karnataka cabinet had recently decided to convert the lease of 3,667 acres to JSW Steel at Ballari into sale, in accordance with the initial agreement. However, amid a row over the decision that drew opposition from various quarters, also the BJP and within, the cabinet once again discussed the issue on June 14 and decided to refer it to a cabinet sub-committee. Accusing the government of selling the land to the company at a throwaway price (Rs. 1.22-1.50 lakh per acre), the BJP had held a two-day round-the-clock sit-in. State BJP president BS Yeddyurappa has even accused the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition of getting "kickbacks" for the sale of land. Causing embarrassment to the coalition, senior Congress leader HK Patil has been opposing the sale by writing a series of letters to the government. He has maintained that the company had been accused of illegal mining and that it owed dues to the government and state-run Mysore Minerals Ltd. Amid the row, JSW Steel chairman and managing director Sajjan Jindal had said the firm never does anything "illegal" or "disadvantage" to the people of Karnataka.
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