ANANTAPUR: In the wake of the ongoing border dispute, the governments of both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have initiated steps to fix the borders of the mining areas in reserved forests to curb encroachments after a two year-long survey.
The dispute has been raging for the past decade when mining barons destroyed survey stones and borders of the forest department during illicit mining.
The teams of both states were hoping to finalise and fix border stones. There were 11 mines spread in the reserved forests of Obulapuram in D. Hirehal mandal close to Bellary in Karnataka. The forest department was conducting a GPS survey in all 11 mines, mostly hillock areas.
Of the 11 mines, six are located in Obulapuram reserved forest, close to the Karnataka border. The controversial Obulapuram mine has rich iron ore deposits spread mostly in the reserved forest area. Six iron ore mines were identified in different locations of Obulapuram in D. Hirehal mandal.
The dispute was mainly between two mining companies — Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) and Bellary Iron Ore Private Ltd. (BIOP) — over their limits and leased areas and a big scam of illicit mining of rich ore came to light. OMC mining baron, Gali Janardhan Reddy, has been facing expulsion from Anantapur and Bellary districts.
Further, a legal dispute arose between both governments over the fixing of borders as the mining activities breached survey stones and borders. “We are conducting surveys through the GPS system based on records available with the department,” Anantapur district forest officer, Jagannath Singh, said. Survey of India department officials were also finalising the borders of both states.
As part the survey, the forest department has to set up mining areas, lease areas, dumping areas and safety zones in each mine to curb illicit mining activities. An expert recalled that rich iron ore deposits were dug out from the reserve forest without paying any thing a decade ago.