AP govt favoured Reddy brothers


The AP government has allowed three mining companies including Obalapuram Mining Company owned by Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy to transport ore extracted in reserve forest areas without forest permit.

As per the Section (2) of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, minerals are also considered as forest produce. And, for transporting any forest produce one must have forest department's transit permit. It is here the AP government has apparently shown favour to OMC, Bellary Iron Ore (P) Ltd (BIOP) and Mahabaleshwarappa & Sons. All these companies are into mining in the Bellary reserve forests spread across AP and Karnataka. The Environment Forests Science and Technology Department, in its memo dated Sept 25, 2008 has relaxed the Rule 5 (1) of AP Forest Produce Transit Rules, 1970 which allows the mining companies to bypass the forest department to transport minerals.

In the memo, Janaki Kondapi, Special Chief Secretary has stated that there was a petition from the mining companies that they have mining lease grants from the Government of India. And, as per the Mineral Concession Rules, they are paying the royalty to the government for transporting the minerals. The Assistant Director, Mines & Geology is issuing dispatch permits. In addition, the Forest Department is also issuing forest permits for dispatching the minerals under Rule 5 (1) of AP Forest Product Transit Rules, 1970 which is duplicity.

Mining companies have also argued that after enactment of Forest Conservation Act, 1980  mining activity is a non-forest activity and anything that is produced by non-forest activity should invariably be a non-forest produce. So insisting on taking forest permits for non-forest produce under the AP Act is not proper. They have also cited that Singerni Collieries Company Ltd, a government owned coal company in AP, is transporting coal without  forest department permits.

Mining lease areas
*There are 6 mining leases in Obalapuram and Siddapuram bordering AP & Karnataka.
nOMC has 3 separate mining leases measuring - 68.5 ha, 39.5 ha & 25.98 ha. For all 3, forest permit exemption granted
*AMC has mining lease in 6.5 ha. The permit exemption is not applicable.
*BIOP has mining lease in 27.12 ha
*Y Mahableshwarappa & Sons has mining lease in 20.20 hrs

CEC may visit mining areas
 But for the fear of Central Empowered Committee (CEC), probably the forest department would not have acted now against OMC or any other mining company which are into illegal mining and transportation in the Bellary reserve forests.
It is said that the members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team of the CEC is likely to visit the disputed mining areas anytime.

The CEC is like an extended arm of Supreme Court. Constituted in 2002, the Committee is for the purpose of monitoring and ensuring compliance of the orders of the SC covering subjects related to forest, wildlife and related issues.
The Multi-Disciplinary Team has been set up by CEC  to control illegal transaction of timber, wildlife and other forest products. Sources said that CEC has the authority to suspended or dismiss an official when found violating rules or for non-compliance of court orders.

In case of OMC, one T Ganesh, who is also into mining, has complained to the CEC that OMC has encroached his mining lease area. While OMC has permits to mine only in AP, Ganesh's lease area is adjoining the 68.5 ha lease area of OMC. According to the complainant OMC has encroached 90 mts towards the mining lease area in Karnataka.

Following the complaint, a hearing took place in Delhi on October 5 which was attended by various department top officials of AP besides Kallol Biswas. The panel members were not happy with the details given by them to safeguard the forest boundary. Later it was decided to send the Multi-Disciplinary Committee to inspect the disputed area.

Fearing that stringent action, the DFO began 'setting his house in order' by sending notices to OMC, it is said.
However, Biswas argued that he has been serving notice from many months but no action has been initiated by the government. Four mining companies are operating in his division and he has served notices for violation for all the companies, he added.

Mining lease areas
*There are 6 mining leases in Obalapuram and Siddapuram bordering AP & Karnataka.
*OMC has 3 separate mining leases measuring - 68.5 ha, 39.5 ha & 25.98 ha. For all 3, forest permit exemption granted
*AMC has mining lease in 6.5 ha. The permit exemption is not applicable.
*BIOP has mining lease in 27.12 ha
*Y Mahableshwarappa & Sons has mining lease in 20.20 hrs

CEC may visit mining areas
 But for the fear of Central Empowered Committee (CEC), probably the forest department would not have acted now against OMC or any other mining company which are into illegal mining and transportation in the Bellary reserve forests.
It is said that the members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team of the CEC is likely to visit the disputed mining areas anytime.

The CEC is like an extended arm of Supreme Court. Constituted in 2002, the Committee is for the purpose of monitoring and ensuring compliance of the orders of the SC covering subjects related to forest, wildlife and related issues.
The Multi-Disciplinary Team has been set up by CEC  to control illegal transaction of timber, wildlife and other forest products. Sources said that CEC has the authority to suspended or dismiss an official when found violating rules or for non-compliance of court orders.

In case of OMC, one T Ganesh, who is also into mining, has complained to the CEC that OMC has encroached his mining lease area. While OMC has permits to mine only in AP, Ganesh's lease area is adjoining the 68.5 ha lease area of OMC. According to the complainant OMC has encroached 90 mts towards the mining lease area in Karnataka.

Following the complaint, a hearing took place in Delhi on October 5 which was attended by various department top officials of AP besides Kallol Biswas. The panel members were not happy with the details given by them to safeguard the forest boundary. Later it was decided to send the Multi-Disciplinary Committee to inspect the disputed area.
Fearing that stringent action, the DFO began 'setting his house in order' by sending notices to OMC, it is said.

However, Biswas argued that he has been serving notice from many months but no action has been initiated by the government. Four mining companies are operating in his division and he has served notices for violation for all the companies, he added.

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