SC panel for scrapping of Reddy brother firms` mining lease

SC-appointed committee has recommended cancellation of mining lease to Reddy brothers` firms.

Last Updated: Jan 07, 2011, 21:35 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Central
Empowered Committee has recommended cancellation of mining
lease to Karnataka`s powerful Reddy brothers` firms in Andhra
Pradesh, saying their Obulapuram Mining Company had openly
flouted various environmental laws in mining operations.

The committee also slammed Andhra Pradesh government
officials saying the violations could not have taken place
without their connivance.
The high-powered panel, which submitted its report today
to the apex court, recommended cancellation of the lease to
four different mines spread over 140 acres on grounds of,
among others, large scale illegal mining in Bellary Reserve
Forest area.

The Reddy brothers include G Janardhan Reddy and G
Karunakar Reddy who are ministers of Karnataka.

Among other reasons cited by the committee for
cancellation of mining lease are illegal extension of the
lease by authorities, illegal mining beyond approved area and
upto depth three times more than the permissible limit besides
illegal construction within the reserved forest area within
which they have the mining lease.

The committee also recommended suspension of all
transportation activities from the four mines of the Reddy
brothers till formal determination of the inter-state boundary
between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in Bellary reserve forest
area and setting up of permanent boundary pillars.

In its 70-page report, the committee also said the
lease deed of some of the mines were "illegally extended" by
state government officials while in the case of others they
were extended years after they actually expired.

Mentioning about illegal construction, the panel said
it has further found that in one mine of 68.5 hectare, "five
roads has been illegally constructed in the reserved forest
area and outside the approved lease" in violation of the
provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act and the condition
on which the lease was given.
The committee also found that a mining lease of 39.5
hectare, executed by the Department of Mines of Andhra Pradesh
government in favour of OMC ", differed materially from forest
area for which the approval under the Forest (Conservation)
Act has been obtained" originally.

It further found that in another 6.5 hectare mine of
the Reddy brother`s another group firm Ananthapur Mining
Corporation, the lease was renewed by state officials 17 years
after it expired while "11 lakh metric ton iron ore was
transported out of it without obtaining permit from the forest
department" for it.

It also said the mineral extracted from this mine was
transported under the guise of mineral extracted from other
mines, which were in far excess of that area.

The CEC said these violations could not have happened
without the help of Andhra Pradesh government officials.

"Before concluding the report, the panel would like to
refer the sorry state of affairs observed....and which could
not have taken place without the active connivance of the
concerned officers of the state government," it said.