Rs. 110-crore worth iron ore, vehicles seized during raids
Bangalore: The Forest Department has booked cases against seven companies in Bellary district for encroaching on forest land and indulging in illegal mining. About 5.8 lakh tonnes of iron ore and 135 vehicles, all estimated at Rs. 110.85 crore, have been confiscated from the encroachers.
Ninety two companies hold mining leases in Bellary district and this case may be no more than the tip of the iceberg. More crackdowns are expected to follow.
The investigation was conducted following an instruction from Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde during a recent three-day visit to the district.
Mr. Hegde is conducting an inquiry into the illegal mining activities in Bellary, Chitradurga, Tumkur and Bangalore (rural) districts between 2000 and 2006.
Although the present case lies outside the purview of his investigations, the report of which is pending, the Forest Department had started investigations based on his observations during his recent visit to the district.
“The investigation was conducted by the Forest officials in a scientific manner using remote sensing equipment,” said Mr. Hegde, who has been sent a copy of the report.
The department has done surveys and drawn up detailed maps that clearly indicate the extent of illegal mining.
“This justifies an opinion I had formed during my visit that illegal mining continues beyond that period,” he said.
The companies against which action has been initiated are H.G. Ranganagowda Group, Tungabhadra Minerals, Nadim Minerals, Ramagadha Minerals, Bharat Mines, J.M. Vrishabhendrayya Mines, and Hottur Traders.