The National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR), which is spearheading the people's campaign against illegal mining in the State and across the inter-State border in Bellary reserve forest, along with similar minded organisations here on Wednesday, urged the Chief Minister to relieve the Minister for Tourism G. Janardhan Reddy from the post of Minister in-charge of Bellary district to restore law and order there.
President of NCPNR, S.R. Hiremath, told presspersons that the Government should replace Mr. Reddy and officials responsible for allowing illegal mining in Bellary in view of the promise made by Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath, in the affidavit filed to the Supreme Court, to take stringent measures against illegal mining. “The committee demands the appointment of a Minister with the highest integrity and transfer of officials known for their uprightness to rebuild lost confidence among the people of Bellary district.
Welcoming the constitution of a committee for re-surveying leases granted to 99 mines, Mr. Hiremath said key State Government officials and representatives of the Lokayukta met the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on Wednesday in New Delhi to commence the process of meticulous preparations for the survey of mining leases that are under a cloud in the Bellary-Hospet and Sandur region.
The joint survey would be significant, he said, as encroachment found by any of these 99 mining companies would mean the lease holder would have to stop all mining operations, not only in the encroached area, but in the entire leased area forthwith.
Releasing another set of documents to prove that a close associate of Mr. Janardhan Reddy was involved in raising contracts, he said two firms represented by B.V. Srinivasa Reddy, who is also the managing director of Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), had entered into raising contracts with two lease holders: Trident Minerals and Mehboob Transport. Trident Minerals had entered into two contracts: with Sri Minerals for extraction of ore and another with Sri Basaveshwara Minerals for sale of the ore. Both companies were being represented by Mr. Srinivasa Reddy. Sri Minerals had also entered into a contract to extract iron ore with Mehboob Transport from their mines in Vitlapura village of Sandur taluk.
“An investigation should be ordered to bring out the truth about the impact of raising contract,” said Mr. Hiremath.