HM Chaithanya Swamy l Bangalore Chief secretary SV Ranganath has ordered a re-examination of the report filed by Dipak Sarmah, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), in which the rich iron ore deposits located in Karnataka were shown to be belonging to Andhra Pradesh. Ranganath’s order came in response to a letter written in February this year by former member of parliament KC Kondaiah who said the survey and demarcation of inter-state boundary in Bellary Reserved Forest (RF) area as per Sarmah’s report ceded more area belonging to Karnataka to Andra Pradesh.
The state boundary of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh runs through Bellary’s reserved forest to which both governments had made several claims since 1981 when the judgment was given by the high court of Karnataka. However, every time they ended up with discrepances as the states had been claiming two independent boundaries.
In the letter, Kondaiah alleged that the Sarmah-led committee, which included officers of both states, had done a survey of the inter-state boundary between the two states in Bellary RF. Kondaiah said he had been informed that the survey committee prepared and submitted the report under the influence of the then minister G Janardhana Reddy who was director of the Andhra Pradesh-based Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC).
He said Janardhana’s brothers G Karunakara Reddy, Somashekhar Reddy and his friend B Sriramulu would be the direct beneficiaries of such a wrong report to the central empowered committee (CEC). The committee’s report also altered the original sketch and notified it as the 100-year-old Bellary RF map without any basis to favour OMC company. Due to the report, the government of Karnataka is said to have lost a rich mineral zone worth Rs1,500 core to Andhra Pradesh to favour Reddy and associates, the letter said.
The encroachment of OMC into Karnataka was shown in the reports by Lokayukta, Sammi Reddy committee, Survey of India (SI) , CEC and CBI, Kondaiah said. The letter written by the joint director of land records Gulbarga on January 31, 1992 stated that the area claimed by the government of AP was officially wrong.
Although the Sarmah committee members from Karnataka were experienced, they did not consider anything from this letter and ceded more mineral zone to Andhra Pradesh than claimed by that state. The SI too confirmed the correctness of the revenue map of 2008 by comparing rock marks of villages in Obulapuram, H Siddapuram and Malpanagudi by taking DGPS reading and projecting them on the digitalised village and revenue map.
The letter further stated that the length of village boundary from the foothill of H Siddapuram and Obulapuram to the inter-state boundary in Bellary RF area was 2,319.37 metres as per the proposed corrected Bellary RF 1986 map of the Sarmah report instead of 2,182 meters as per the high level committee report enclosed by the Andhra Pradesh government.
The CEC report mentioned the length of this line as 200 metres and more. Kondaiah said the mineral zone in the Karnataka area in the Sugalamma Konda was less — that is 70-80 meters in width all along the inter-state boundary — and with the shifting of 55-75 metres in width all along the inter-state boundary as per the proposed corrected Bellary RF 1986 map of the Sarmah report, there will not be any mineral zone left in Karnataka area for working.
Kondaiah demanded that the inter-state boundary as shown in the proposed corrected map shall be corrected based on the above facts for the existence of rich mineral zone of Karnataka. CS Ranganath directed Dipak Sarmah to re-examine the report.