‘Republic of Bellary,’ as the Lok Ayukta termed it, sets its own rules. Even though the Supreme Court ordered immediate suspension of mining in a large tract of the district on July 29, citing 'large-scale environmental degradation’ permits for mining continue to be issued.
On Sunday, two days after the Supreme Court ruling, ore was recovered from 59 rail wagons at Hagari railway station in Bellary district. The ore was set to be exported to a location in Maharashtra. Legally ‘valid’ documents permitting the export of the ore were also seized.
The iron ore transited from Yeshwantpur in Bellary district, and tahsildar Shashidar zeroed in on the illegal load. The firm exporting the ore was called Semento. The consignment was loaded around 11 pm on Saturday.
About 49 truckloads of ore were seized from Allipura village on the outskirts of Bellary city on Saturday. The deputy commissioner said that the vehicles appeared to be belonging to BA Srinivasa Reddy's Bellary Mining Company.
He is also the managing director of Obalupuram Mining Company, with which tourism minister G Janardhana Reddy had served as a director. The truck drivers claimed to have received permits to remove the ore on July 30, a day after the Supreme Court ordered immediate suspension of mining and transport of ore.
DC Amlan Aditya Biswas said that investigations were on in regard to the continued transport of ore from Bellary.
On July 29, after the Supreme Court ordered suspension of mining and transport of iron ore, the district commissioner passed orders to all mining companies to stop activity.