Bellary: The five decade-old inter-state boundary (ISB) dispute between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in mineral-rich Bellary reserve forest (BRF) area appears to be reaching the logical end with representatives of both governments coming together to resolve the row.
At a meeting between revenue minister of Andhra Pradesh N Raghuveera Reddy and his Karnataka counterpart V Srinivas Prasad and law minister T B Jayachandra in Bengaluru on Friday, a decision was taken to carryout a joint survey of the inter-state boundary under the supervision of Surveyor General of India in accordance with April 18th order of the Supreme Court.
According to official sources, the survey would be conducted in reserve forest areas and outcome of the survey would not change the current position of any villages or towns located on either side of the boundary.
Besides it would not alter even the existing position of agriculture fields, grazing fields and water bodies of the villages on either side.
“We do not know anything about the inter-state border dispute or survey here, may be it is related to mining people”, says Damu Naik in Halkundi Thanda, a Lambani community hamlet in Bellary taluk sharing border with Andhra Pradesh.
Indeed, villagers across the border appear to have very little knoweldge about the alleged dispute and they traverse freely across the area every day.
For instance, when Suggalamma Devi temple shrine located atop Suggalamma hillock in Obulapuram village in AP was allegedly razed by Obulapuram Mining Company in 2006, the temple’s tribal priest Mangyu Naik lodged complaint in Bellary Rural police station unmindful of the fact that temple jurisdiction comes under the D Hirehal police station in AP.
Determination of ISB, however, is important as the phrase “illegal mining” was first heard louder from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh border passing through iron ore-rich Bellary Reserve Forest (BRF) when once-powerful Reddy mine lords launched their Obulapuram mining empire post 2005.
Once the ISB is determined with mutual consent of both states, the apex court- constituted Central Empowered Committee and Monitoring Committee will begin the joint survey of seven iron ore mining leases inside Karnataka and six leases in AP side including four leases operated by jailed former minister Gali Janardhan Reddy owned Obulapuram Mining Company.