Bellary Reddy desires to restart mining, Andhra tells SC ‘no objection’

G. Janardhana Reddy

The Andhra Pradesh authorities has informed the Supreme Court it has no objection to resumption of iron ore mining in Bellary reserve forest the place it was banned in 2010 over encroachment of forest land and different alleged violations, primarily by Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) of former Karnataka minister G Janardhan Reddy.

Minister for Tourism and Infrastructure Development within the Karnataka authorities from 2008 to 2011, Reddy is underneath CBI investigation for alleged unlawful extraction and cash laundering.

The state made the submission to the Supreme Court after OMC sought the apex courtroom’s permission to renew mining actions, claiming that “nothing further survives” within the case because the boundary dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka that had precipitated mining to cease was now resolved.

In March 2010, the SC stopped mining in Andhra’s Anantapur district till the mining leases have been demarcated on the bottom after its Central Empowered Committee (CEC) reported rampant encroachment and beneficial that firms responsible of mining exterior lease areas be allowed to renew mining and made to pay exemplary penalty.

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Eleven years later, on July 21, the SC was knowledgeable that the 2 states had lastly accepted the state boundary report of the Surveyor General of India. At the identical listening to, as OMC claimed that this cleared the bottom for restarting mining, the counsel showing on behalf of Andhra Pradesh submitted, “on instructions, that the State has no objection to mining activities being carried out within its demarcated area.”

In January 2010, quickly after Konijeti Rosaiah succeeded YS Rajasekhara Reddy as Chief Minister, the Andhra Pradesh authorities had informed the SC that the Reddy brothers had within the Bellary forests illegally mined round 1.95 lakh tonnes of iron ores and that permitting them to proceed can be a “premium on dishonesty”.

The SC is to listen to the matter on August 10.

The obvious shift within the state’s stand has riled quite a lot of officers who helped flip the tide towards the Reddy brothers throughout 2009-2010.

“Since the permanent pillars and rocks marking the state boundary were removed to encroach on forest land, it was necessary to first determine the interstate line before demarcating individual leases, quantifying encroachments and fixing accountability. This is supposed to be the beginning (of that process) and not a closure,” stated a forest officer who served in Anantapur district.

In reality, a second report submitted by the CEC in April 2011 underlined a protracted record of illegalities:

* None of the mining leases demarcated on the bottom.

* Dumping on reserve forest land.

* Removal of boundary pillars to extend lease areas.

* Unlawful extension of mining leases by 12-17 years.

* Mining with out forest clearance.

* Construction of unlawful roads by way of the forest, together with one into Karnataka apparently to smuggle iron ore throughout the border.

* Reported portions of iron ore dispatched far exceeding the manufacturing capability of the mines.

A senior official with the Andhra Pradesh mining division stated a number of companies transported iron ore mined illegally in lease areas of Karnataka’s Bellary by way of forest roads to mines in neighbouring Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh after which to one of many ports as authorized consignments to be shipped out.

“The modus operandi was clear to us. Even the SC said that material extracted by at least two companies was routed through OMC and asked the CBI (in September 2011) to probe the links,” he stated.

Instead of “resuming business as usual”, the official stated, Andhra Pradesh ought to “broadly follow the course taken on the Karnataka side” of Bellary forests. “There, each lease was scrutinised before placing it in one of the three categories based on the extent of illegalities found. While the worst offenders were barred, others were allowed to resume mining after making amends and a production ceiling was set to prevent over-extraction,” he stated.

Riding a growth within the world metal market, Janardhan Reddy, alongside together with his brothers Karunakara Reddy and Somashekara Reddy, rose to prominence in Andhra Pradesh within the early 2000s. Of 188 hectares underneath iron mining lease in Bellary reserve forest within the state’s Anantapur district, 134 hectare was awarded to OMC.

Reddy’s OMC and Brahmani are among the many firms being investigated by the CBI for alleged monetary hyperlinks with the companies of YSR’s son and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. The Reddy brothers have been ministers within the first BJP authorities in Karnataka throughout 2008-2011. In 2018, Somashekara Reddy and Karunakara Reddy have been elected to the Assembly on BJP tickets.

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