The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), belonging to the Reddy brothers, to resume mining in the undisputed region of the Bellary reserve forest in Karnataka.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan allowed OMC to start mining operations within 150 meters of the Karnataka border.
The apex court, however, clarified that mining by OMC should be carried out only in the undisputed area of the lease granted by the Karnataka government and would have to be stopped if the Survey of India says so.
The apex court had on March 22 banned mining of iron ores by OMC and appointed a committee comprising officials of the Survey of India, the forest, irrigation and revenue departments of Andhra Pradesh, besides representatives of the Reddy brothers to look into allegations of illegal mining and violation of leased areas.
In its ruling today, the court also directed Karnataka to appoint officials from forest and mining departments to assist the committee in demarcating the boundary between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The court has asked the committee to complete the final survey within two months.
The Reddy brothers, who own mining leases for over 136 hectares of land spread in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district, are accused of encroaching on reserve forest lands