CEC to OMC: Make submission by Dec 29

Committee unhappy on mining company for not producing details on illegal mining

At a meeting in Anantapur on Thursday, CEC Member Secretary M K Jiwrajka expressed his displeasure with OMC for not producing a written submission, and warned that it would have to go ahead with the investigation based solely on available records.

When the OMC senior counsel requested another opportunity for a hearing, the CEC replied that the hearing would be held on December 29.

Three other firms

OMC along with the other three firms -- Bellary Iron Ore Pvt Ltd, Mahabaleswarappa & Sons, and Ananthapur Mining Corporation -- have also been asked to give in their written submissions before December 27.

The meeting also saw Samudaya Parivartan Samaj, a Dharwad-based-NGO, which filed a Public-Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court, make a detailed presentation of its findings related to illegal mining in Bellary forest. Samaj founder S R Hiremath told Deccan Herald that “We made a presentation to the CEC describing how 10 acres of unallotted forest land have been encroached by the mining firms. We also highlighted the issue of illegal use of heavy earth machinery by mining firms. For instance, OMC has in one mine extracted nearly 29.32 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore, which is not possible without the illegal deployment of heavy earth machinery.”

Supreme Court directive

The three-member CEC team has been in Anantapur since Wednesday following a Supreme Court directive last month to investigate whether mining is going on in the forest area in the Bellary region near the six mining leases.

While the team held a meeting with officials on Wednesday, it conducted a day-long inspection of 6 mines on Thursday.

The CEC is looking into 15 issues which include renewal of Obulapuram’s mining lease, the encroachment of land by the six mines in Bellary forest area, change in lease sketches of Bellary Iron Ore Pvt Ltd, construction of illegal roads, location of boundary pillars demarcating Andhra-Karnataka border, and illegal deployment of heavy earth machinery.

The team has returned to New Delhi on Thursday evening, and will next hold a hearing in New Delhi on December 29.

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