Staff Correspondent

BELLARY: The Bellary Lokayukta police, led by Superintendent of Police Hanchinamani, visited Honnali Iron Ore Mines and Vibhuti Gudda Mines at Honnali village, bordering Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday following complaints that iron ore was being extracted despite a stay order by the Karnataka High Court.

Srinivas Reddy, Range Forest Officer, Kalyandurgam Range, informed presspersons that he had seized four lorries with iron ore, reportedly extracted from Honnali mines, being transported into Andhra Pradesh.

Ramachandra Reddy, General Manager of Obulapuram Mining Company owned by G. Janardhan Reddy, suspended BJP MLC, told presspersons that the Karnataka High Court had stayed mining activity in several mines of which Honnali Mines was one.

Yet mining activity was continuing, he charged, and accused officials from Karnataka of turning a blind eye towards this. Enquiries revealed that Honnali mines is located inside the State border, surrounded by three other mines falling on the other side of the border. Honnali Iron Ore Mines and Vibhuti Gudda Mines had been offered a lease to take up mining activity there. When this correspondent visited the mine areas, one persons was working, but no ore was being transported from there.

During the visit of the Lokayukta Superintendent of Police, no mining activity was seen.

Srinivasmurthy, senior executive of Vibhuti Gudda Mines, who arrived on the spot, informed the Lokayukta that he was not aware of the stay order issued by the High Court, and added that he had not received the copy of the order and that mining activity had been continuing.

Mr. Hanchinamani told The Hindu that he would forward a report on his observations to his seniors.