SC slams AP, K'taka over work for demarcating boundary

SC slams AP, K'taka over work for demarcating boundary

A view of the Supreme Court of India. (File photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Andhra Pradesh and the Karnataka governments over lack of interests shown by them in demarcating the boundary of the states around the Ballari reserve forest areas.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta expressed its strong displeasure that the work for demarcating the boundary has not been completed even after the passage of several years, since the first order in this regard was passed on March 22, 2010.

“We are perturbed that the matter is going on at a snail's pace,” the bench said, adding that both the states do not seem to be cooperating and even the worse that the Karnataka was not represented by any counsel before the court.

As a counsel, appearing for Andhra Pradesh contended that the area was part of the reserved forest, the bench asked him, “Why have you not taken any step? You must be interested in knowing your boundary. How can a state say that it was not interested in protecting its boundary.”

“You have to protect your border. You can't say that it is a job of Survey of India. You declare that it is no man's land. Why should not the government of India take over it?” the bench further asked.

The court's observations came as the Union government, represented by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand sought further time till August 31 for demarcating the boundary between the two states.

Senior advocates Krishnan Venugopal and Basava Prabhu Patil, representing Ballari Iron Ore Mining Company and others, contended that the states were going slow due to vested political interests.

“There was more than what meets the eyes. My lease was illegally taken over by Gali Janardhana Reddy. There are large-scale manipulations in the area. Reddy had even blasted a temple over there,” Venugopal said, adding several mining leases in the area were suspended due to no clear-cut demarcation of the boundary.

The bench said the country was trying to protect its border but the states within are not interested in demarcating its own areas. The court put the matter for further consideration on July 27 after it was told a meeting of the top officers were going to be held on July 23 and 24 for resolving the issue.

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