Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Illegal mining of iron ore at Ramagudda forest range in Bellary has commenced since the last one week and nearly 15,000 tonnes of ore is being sent out of the mines every day, the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, the former Prime Minister said that although the status of land revenue or forests was yet to be established, the mining had commenced on about 300 acres of land without permission.

Indicating that the mining activity was at the behest of the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) owned by Ministers from Bellary district, he said that about 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of ore was being shipped out of the country from Chennai and Krishnapatnam ports.

“Illegal mining activities are taking place even before the Assistant Commissioner is yet to file his report on the land,” he added.

He alleged that the OMC had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with 48 mines. “Through this MoU, the OMC gets 40 per cent of the ore that is mined in these 48 mines free of cost.”

The former Prime Minister said that a protest would be launched in Bellary against the illegal mining at Ramagudda forest range after consulting environmentalists, intellectuals and Left parties.He would soon discuss the issue with people like r U.R. Ananthamurthy and decide the date to launch the protest.

Mr. Deve Gowda also urged the State Government to provide security to V. Anjaneya, a former employee of OMC, who has come forward to become an approver in the cases relating to the destruction of geographical indices and boundary marker between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The Reddy brothers fear that Mr. Anajenya might have documents which could be used to depose against them, he added.