It also wants exemplary cost recovered from them

The Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee has declared “illegal” the mining done by the Reddy brothers through three leases in Obulapuram mines in the Bellary reserved forest area, and recommended that the licences be cancelled and exemplary cost recovered from them.

In November last, the Forest Bench asked the Committee to examine whether mining was going on in the forest area of the Bellary region in Anantapur district, comprising the border areas of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and if so, what action should be taken to stop it.

Senior counsel Harish Salve presented the report to the Bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices Aftab Alam and K.S. Radhakrishnan on Friday. It granted the Reddy brothers and others two weeks to file their response.

The Committee said that besides the three leases of the Reddy brothers, the licence of Anantapur Mining Corporation (AMC) should be cancelled as its renewal was granted almost 17 years after it had expired.

The report narrates how the Reddy brothers got the licence transferred from the original lessee and how the licences were renewed up to 2017, without the period between 1984 and 1997 being calculated. This was clearly illegal.

As for the mines of Bellary Iron Ore Private Ltd. (BIOP) and YMS, the Committee said they should be directed to pay exemplary compensation for using the reserved forest area, outside the approved lease area, for dumping overburden. “It is recommended that the exemplary compensation may be assessed and recovered at the rate of 20 times of the normal Net Present Value payable for the forest area used by them.”

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