The Supreme Court on Monday permitted Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), owned by Reddy brothers, to start mining in the undisputed region in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
A bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan allowed OMC to start mining operations within 150 meters of the Andhra border. It clarified that operations should not be carried out in the disputed area, where the company has allegedly encroached upon forest area. On account of the alleged encroachment, the Andhra Pradesh government had restrained OMC from carrying out further mining in the entire area that was leased out to it.
The court also directed the Reddy brothers to stop mining if the Survey of India asks them to temporarily discontinue operations while surveying the region to demarcate the boundary between the two states.
The court said: “Whenever, the Survey of India would say to stop you (OMC) from mining, you would have to stop.” The bench also directed the Survey of India to complete demarcation of the border between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh within two months.
As per the court order, the Karnataka government has to appoint officials from the forest and mining departments to assist the panel, appointed by it to demarcate the boundary between the two states.
OMC was on March 22 restrained from mining iron ores. The CJI”s bench had constituted a committee comprising officials from the Survey of India, the forest, irrigation and revenue departments of Andhra Pradesh. The Reddy brothers too were allowed to be members of the panel through representatives. The panel was asked to probe the charges of illegal mining against the Reddy brothers and violation of land lease conditions.