Centre gets time to file report

Mining company had sought clear order from the Supreme Court


Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati submitted that the Ministry of Forest and Environment needed some more time to file a reply in the matter concerning the border dispute involving various lease-holders in Anantapur.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan adjourned the matter for two weeks. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for Obalapuram Mining Company (OMC) sought a clear order from the court. Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Andhra Pradesh said the state had already conducted the survey of the mines.

Meanwhile, Tapal Ganesh, a resident of Gandhi Nagar in Bellary, has filed an application to implead him as a party to the litigation.

The mining area of 93.50 acres leased out to his father has been “encroached upon after defacing and destroying the boundary pillars,” Ganesh stated in his application.

A complaint has been filed with the Central Empowered Committee alleging that the OMC had encroached on the forest land and mines of other lease-holders in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, said the application.


The application alleged that the OMC was owned by Janaradhana Reddy, the Tourism minister of Karnataka, and his brother Karunakar Reddy, the Revenue minister.

Survey

On May 1, 2009, the government had submitted before the court that a survey would be conducted in six weeks by the Survey of India to carve out mining areas of each lease-holders. The petition was heard along with a petition filed by S K Modi, who incidentally owns Bellary Iron Ores Pvt Ltd (BIOPL) that was involved in a fight over territorial jurisdiction with OMC. These two companies, situated adjacent to each other in Obalapuram and Siddapuram, in Anantpur district have been fighting over the border of their mining areas.

Earlier, BIOPL had approached the mining authorities and the Andhra Pradesh High Court accusing OMC of encroaching on their mining area and resorting to illegal excavation of iron ore. OMC had refuted the charges of BIOPL before the High Court last year.

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