India’s Ministry of Steel has supported before the Supreme Court that the ban on export of iron ore mined in Karnataka should be lifted. It has said that the Supreme Court may consider vacating the order for district level caps on iron ore mining imposed on the production of iron ore from the districts of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur in order to ensure availability of proportionate iron ore. It has further said the mines in the state of Karnataka should be given 'equality of treatment' with the mines in other parts of the country so that it would permit inter-state trade, which at present is not operational, of iron ore mined in the State of Karnataka. Also, the export to other countries may take place in accordance with the extant policy of the governmentThe Union Steel Ministry's response comes on a petition filed in 2009 complaining of illegal and indiscriminate mining in the State of Karnataka. The Supreme Court on 11 April had sought the Ministry of Steel's stand on the lifting of the ban on the export of iron ore in the state.The Ministry of Mines has already supported the lifting of the ban. It had informed the top court that the situation has improved since the ban was imposed in the state due to illegal mining and encroachment of forest land.The next date of hearing in the top court is May 5.