Discrepancies in sketches: Survey of India
Considering the major discrepancies in the lease sketches of six Obulapuram mines, including three belonging to the Reddy brothers in the Bellary Reserved Forest Area, the Survey of India (SoI) has told the Supreme Court that the entire lease sketches should be reviewed and no mining allowed during the demarcation work.
In its report submitted on Thursday, the SoI said: “All these sketches have to be re-drawn correctly with reference to at least two reference [permanent] points on the ground. Two departments of the same government should not issue two different approved sketches.”
The case comes up for hearing on Friday. The SoI undertook the survey of the six mines on the directions of the court after the Andhra Pradesh government alleged that there were large-scale violations and encroachments.
The SoI sought a direction to the Union Home Ministry to ask the Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to decide on the inter-State boundary in the Bellary forest area to facilitate demarcation.
To avoid disputes, all pillars on the boundaries of mine leases should be provided latitude and longitude which would be done during demarcation.
The report said: “Lease sketches issued by the Mines and Geology department of the Andhra Pradesh government and those issued by the Forest department in respect of 39.5 hectares and 68.5 hectares of OMC Mines differ substantially. These departments and the mineholder have a difference of opinion on which is the approved sketch. There is some overlap of areas among adjoining mines; at some points, leases are crossing the inter-State boundary and there is no major variation in areas occupied and area allotted.”
Pointing out that demarcation could not be done at this juncture; the SoI said: “There is no combined leases sketch available with the forest/mines and geology departments of Andhra Pradesh. Due to this, it is not possible to find out gaps/overlaps in the cluster of five mining leases.”
Further: “Legs of lease area polygons are falling on the inter-State boundary. This boundary has to be settled between both States to avoid disputes of an inter-State nature after demarcation. Complaints have been received from lessees having leases falling on the other side of the inter-State boundary. Authorities of both States were approached but no final solution has been spelt out by them till date.”
Keywords: Mining lease issue