CEC concludes hearing on illegal mining

With this, CEC is expected to submit a report before the Supreme Court next month to find out if illegal mining has been taking place in the Bellary reserve forest area. The hearing on Wednesday was held following inspection of the six mines by the CEC last week.
The main issue that is being investigated is whether the Obulapuram Mining Corporation (OMC) -- the firm owned by Reddy -- has encroached into 10 acres of unalloted forest land lying adjacent to it. Samaj Parivartan Samudaya (SPS), the NGO that filed a PIL against illegal mining, submitted to the CEC that OMC has encroached by manipulating the boundaries of the lease.

The SPS, using maps generated by computer software, submitted that there was no doubt of the existence of 10 acres of unalloted forest land adjacent to OMC. The SPS also alleged that OMC covered up its intent to gobble up forest land by manipulating the co-ordinates of the boundaries.

The trick, SPS alleges, was achieved by manipulating the difference between true north and magnetic north. In surveying, True north refers to the North pole, while magnetic north refers to the north direction pointed by a magnet.

 Magnetic north does not coincide with true north and it also tends to shift on a regular basis. SPS claims that OMC was able to cover up its faults by manipulating the deviation between true north and magnetic north from 2 degrees to 16 degrees.

The other issue raised during the hearing was that intensive mining took place despite OMC and Ananthpur Mining Company not having the necessary permits to deploy heavy earth moving machinery. SPS showed that as per statement of the Andhra Pradesh government, intensive mining has been going on from 2007-08, despite the lack of any permits.

A total of 66.80 lakh metric tonnes of ore was alleged to have been extracted illegally by the both OMC and Ananthpur Mining Company.  

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