The Survey of India (SoI) informed the Supreme Court on Friday that there was no major encroachment or illegal mining in sofar as the first mine spread over an area of 68.5 hectares was concerned in the Obulapuram mines owned by Karnataka Minister G. Janardhan Reddy and his brothers in Bellary area.

During the last hearing, the court had ordered fresh survey of all the three mining fields and till then stayed mining activities and lifting of extracted raw material.

The SoI will also conduct a survey of the mining leases of the other three licensees — Bellary Iron Ore Ltd, YM & Son, and Anantapur Mining Corporation — after completing the survey of the fields leased to the Reddy brothers' company, the court had said.

The direction of fresh survey was issued on the special leave petition of the Andhra Pradesh government, challenging the State High Court order dismissing its plea for fresh survey and till then continuing the suspension of mining activities.

During the resumed hearing on Friday, the Bench of Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma was informed about the SoI completing survey in the first mine and a report was filed in the court. The CJI, after perusing the report, posted the matter for hearing on April 12 to enable the parties to respond to the report.

In a related development, the Bench posted for hearing on April 29, a writ petition filed by Tapal Ganesh seeking protection to him following the recent attack. The CJI, refusing early hearing, said: “If you want early hearing approach the High Court or file a complaint before a Magistrate.”

The SoI, in its findings, said that 68.50 hectares had been allotted to the OMC. After plotting the traverse, the area of closed polygon was calculated which was found to be 68.60 hectares. After re-observation on the pillar 4, “the area comes out to 68.40 hectares.” It said that of the 68.50 hectares, mining was to be carried out in 66 hectares, excluding 2.5 hectares meant for road. It was found that the difference was about 100 to 150 metres towards the western side and the root cause of dispute “is not following any coordinate system in awarding the lease area.”

It said: “Variation in actual area in extent and location on ground with respect to sketch area might be because of faulty demarcation/instrumental error and technological mismatch in method of surveying.”

In its recommendations, the SoI said: “The lease sketches based on which the leases have been allotted to different mine holders, have quite appreciable linear and angular misclosures. They need to be revised by Andhra Pradesh government. All lease sketches in each cluster should be made with reference to at least two common reference points which are permanent in nature like village tri-junction, village boundary/inter-State boundary pillars with their coordinates. Offset inter-State boundary should be clearly mentioned on sketches.”

It further said: “Inter-State boundary between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka States has been demarcated as shown by local officials of both the governments as appearing on latest SoI topographical map. But it has to be verified by the government concerned. Lease areas are adjoining inter-State boundary falling in Bellary reserved forest. There is a long-standing boundary dispute between the adjoining States and the issue has to be resolved before demarcation can be started. There should be no mining operation survey work.”

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