SC panel deals a blow to Reddys

CEC calls for halt to OMC mining activity till lease boundary demarcation is done

SC panel deals a blow to Reddys

The court committee also  upbraided the AP government for giving a clean chit to the Bellary brothers.

OMC is owned by State tourism minister Janardhana Reddy who earlier this month led a rebellion in a bid to oust against chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.

The CEC is an extended arm of the Supreme Court and is a watchdog against violation of forest-related laws and issues. It submitted its report to the court on Thursday on the apex court’s orders to inquire into issues raised by a writ petition filed by Tapal Ganesh of Bellary against OMC over illegal mining in violation of the Forest Conservation Act.
The CEC’s report stated that the boundaries of six mining leases namely M/s BIOP, YM&Sons, OMC (3 leases) and Ananthpur Mining Corporation (also owned by Janardhana Reddy) in H Siddapura and Obulapuram villages in Andhra Pradesh’s Ananthpur district should be demarcated.

The report said after demarcation is done, the companies found to have carried out mining activities strictly within the approved lease may be permitted to resume business, while those found to have violated the law should be debarred from doing so. Besides, owners of those leases should be imposed exemplary cost equivalent to the market value of the iron ore extracted from outside the lease area.

The committee said that demarcation should be done in a time-bound manner by a team comprising senior representatives of the Survey of India, the  Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Mines Department, and the Revenue Department of Andhra Pradesh.

Janardhana Reddy has been insisting that his company is not into illegal mining and false allegations are being made by the Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh for political gain.
Andhra chief minister K Rosaiah recently referred the case over alleged illegal mining to the CBI. The Bellary Reddys were closely associated with former chief minister Y S Rajashekara Reddy.

In a scathing criticism of the previous YSR government, the CEC noted that “the objectivity, fairness and impartiality, which is expected from a state government, is shockingly lacking here and does not inspire confidence”.

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