New Delhi: Buoyed by the permission given
to the Reddy brothers to resume mining on the Andhra border,
Bellary Iron Ores today moved the Supreme Court for permission
to resume excavations in the Bellary reserve forests.
Bellary Iron Ores (BIOL), which has six leases and
some of them share boundary with the controversial Reddy
brothers-owned Oblapuram Mining Company mines, requested the
court to grant it permission to mine in the same area in
accordance with the recent Survey of India report.
However, a bench comprising chief justice SH Kapadia and
justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar declined to give
any interim relief and directed it to list the matter before
the forest bench in July.
The bench also slammed BIOL for keeping quiet for more
than a six months after the controversy with OMC started. The
court enquired the firm whether it had approached the high
power committee appointed by it consisting persons from the
Survey of India to ascertain the facts.
"You (BIOL) were sitting on the fence and watching the
show for a considerable time and when the things are over you
have come before us," the court said rejecting the contentions
of the firm that now survey of the region was completed and it
should be allowed to work.
OMC and BIOL were jointly stopped by Andhra Pradesh from
mining in its Anantpur district last November. However, OMC
moved the apex court and got relief, while BIOL keep quiet.
Senior advocate Krishna Venugopal appearing for BIOL
submitted that the survey work was almost done and it should
be allowed to mine as per the survey report. "The survey is
done by the committee...boundary is almost worked. Now we
should be allowed to mine as per the lease and the report,"
On being enquired by the bench that whether it had
approached the Survey of India, he replied that the firm had
written to them.
However, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for OMC
opposed any kind of permission and said it was the same firm
that approached the supreme court appointed committee (CEC)
and complained against OMC. "Yes, we share common boundaries
in some of the mines in which we have dispute with the
government... but he kept quiet since November. SLP was filed
in the apex court in March," he said.
The apex court had on May 10 allowed OMC to resume mining
in the undisputed areas in the Anantapur district, 150 meters
away from the inter-state border of Karnataka and Andhra.
However, the court had said as and when the SoI would
carry the work for demarcation of boundary between the two
states, it can can ask the OMC to temporarily stop its
activity in the region.