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Illegal mining: action sought against district-level officials

Staff Correspondent


Petitioner takes exception to delay in initiating action

He has also sought Janardhan Reddy's resignation


Bellary: S.R. Hiremath of the Samaj Parivarthan Samudaya, who has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against illegal mining in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, has taken exception to delay in initiating action against officials concerned for their alleged role in illegal mining.

Mr. Hiremath told presspersons here on Tuesday that Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath had said in an affidavit submitted to the court that action would be taken against district-level officials, particularly those who were posted in the district allegedly at the behest of Minister for Tourism and district in charge G. Janardhan Reddy, for their alleged role in illegal mining. Deputy Commissioner B. Shivappa, Deputy Conservator of Forests Muthaiah, Deputy Director of Mines and Geology, Hospet, Raju, and Superintendent of Police Seemant Kumar Singh were some of the officials mentioned in the document. However, no action had been taken against them yet, Mr. Hiremath said.

“Why should the Chief Secretary need three months to initiate action against the officials?” he said, and added that if there was further delay in taking action against the officials, he would be forced to file a contempt petition in the Supreme Court and press for early and effective measures against illegal mining and also against the officials allegedly involved in illegal mining.

‘Replace officials'

Mr. Hiremath urged the Chief Secretary to replace Principal Chief Conservator of Forests I.B. Srivastav and Secretary Department of Mines and Geology Ramprasad in view of serious irregularities in the grant of leases to companies that enjoyed support of powerful people.

‘Violations'

“The mining lease of S.B. Minerals in Vyasanakere in Hospet taluk has been extended by 30 years in gross violation of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, which allows allotment of lease only for a period not exceeding 20 years. This is similar to what was done in the case of granting lease of 25.98 hectares to Oblulapuram Mining Company, owned by Mr. Reddy and his brothers, in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

Mr. Hiremath also wanted the Chief Secretary to deal sternly with such serious irregularities along the lines of the CEC recommendations for OMC in its report dated January 7, 2011.

Mr. Hiremath, while citing another instance of serious irregularity, said the penalty imposed by the Mines and Geology Department on Matha Minerals in Tumkur district was inadequate. According to him, the kith and kin of V. Somanna, Minister for Housing, are partners in Matha Minerals, which has been charged of encroaching upon 37 acres of land. Mr. Hiremath demanded that the officials concerned stop all mining activities, including transportation of ore, immediately, besides cancelling the mining lease.

Charge against Minister

Mr. Hiremath also sought the resignation of Mr. Reddy who has been charged with evading taxes and carrying out illegal mining.

Raghavendra Kushtagi, convener of the Action Committee for Protection of Natural Resources - Karnataka, and T.M. Shivakumar of Sandur Nagarika Horata Samiti were present.

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