He used RTI to rattle Reddys

Mining controversy

He used RTI to rattle Reddys

Tapal Ganesh

This move was not adopted by Reddy baiters, including former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy or other political parties.

Ganesh, 43, a resident of Bellary town, is also a mine owner and has studied till 9th standard. His grandfather Tapal Thimmappa got the mining lease licence in 231 acres way back in 1957 in Malapanagudi in AP. Tapal (post) was prefixed to the name of Thimmappa as he was an employee of the Postal Department.

Thimmappa and his son Tapal Narayana Reddy, the father of Ganesh, did mining but not extensively, because, it was not economically viable. “In 1960s we would have got Re 1 or Rs 2 as profit per tonne of iron ore. It was not profitable. Our Tumti Mining Company began mining seriously in 2006,” Ganesh said.

The family also has mining lease licence in 93 acres of Tumti forest area bordering AP and Karnataka. When the  Janardhana Reddy-owned Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) allegedly encroached upon 27 acres of Tumti company’s lease area, the Tapal family lodged a police complaint in 2006.

Since then the battle between the Tapals and Reddys are on both in police station and court. Ganesh said that in 2007 the then Bellary DC Rajashekaran had issued a show cause notice to the OMC for trespassing. Later Ganesh also filed two interlocutory applications in the Supreme Court. He had requested the Central Empowered Committee of the apex court to look into the ‘shifting’ of boundary by the OMC.

The panel has observed that the boundary demarcations have been refixed by AP government to help the OMC.
Ganesh’s petitions are still pending before the court. “I am sure the court will uphold the rule,” he said.

He said, “I had obtained the land records pertaining to the mining areas from the revenue departments of both the States, using the RTI. All the information I have furnished to courts and police are based on the information/records available with the governments. Courts have given justice. But Karnataka government is not implementing court directions.” Asked whether he was facing any threat from his opponents, he said, “I have 14 siblings. We are not safe. We do not have bodyguards. Janardhana Reddy is not a gani dhani (mining lord) as projected by the media. He is into illegal mining. He is protected by politicians who are in power. But, eventually democracy will prevail. ” The Tapal family has written to Governor H R Bhardwaj seeking police protection.

Seeks protection

Prakash, the younger brother of Ganesh, said, “We have been seeking police protection for many months. But our request is not being considered. Today, we submitted a memorandum to the Governor seeking police protection to the family”.  Asked whether the family has been receiving threat calls, Prakash replied in the negative. “They do not call us and threaten. But we know that we are not safe”, he said

To  a query how much profit Tumti company is making, Ganesh said, “I am not good at mathematics. The boom time for mining began in 2004. My elders were using only cycles.  In the last one-and-half years we have paid Rs 1 crore as income tax. At present a tonne of iron ore costs around Rs 1,200.”

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