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In the ‘Republic of Bellary’,a minister’s ‘muscle power’

Lokayukta has said system has collapsed because a minister with mining interests is in charge.

In Hospet-Sandur-Bellary (BHS) sector,there is unaccounted mushrooming of registered and unregistered iron ore traders. In the last two to three years,it has been observed that due to a big margin of profit in this illegal trade,a mafia type of operation has started with the full connivance and support of politicians,officials [of various departments and others.

While discussing the collapse of the administration,I will have to refer to another main reason for the failure of the administration in Bellary. In my opinion,it is mainly because of the fact that a minister in the cabinet,who is involved in mining,has been made the minister in charge of the Bellary district; he has manipulated his power to his advantage and has indulged in illegal mining,through companies of which he was director/partner and his supporters by misusing the administration.

When this minister took over charge of Bellary district,the entire administration system for mining has drastically changed. In other words,the system and officials were used by the minister to the personal advantage of himself and his family.

He has used the officials of other mining companies to share their produce on the promise of providing these companies with all necessary permits and assuring them free and uninterrupted transportation of their material to destinations of their choice. The system has come to be known as “Zero Risk System”. There are instances when companies or miners,who did not agree to cooperate and accede to the demand of the minister or his followers,were denied transport permits,thus making transportation of their produce impossible.

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The minister has also used his muscle power and organised trespassing into the mines owned by individuals/companies and compelled such companies to execute agreements on the basis of raising contract,which itself was held by me in my first report as a system of unknown law. No officer would dare to question his acts. Per contra,they supported his acts either for consideration or out of fear.

Very sadly,the government at Bangalore knew about all these irregularities [but did not take any action to stop these,maybe on the ground that this minister and his followers are originally responsible for supporting and appointing the Chief Minister. The CM has reportedly stated once that there are irregularities in Bellary,but he is unable to stop it.

The officials who were to work in Bellary and its surrounding areas were handpicked by this minister; whether belonging to his portfolio or not they were posted in Bellary. At one stage,when the minister and the Chief Minister [fell out,all these officials were transferred from Bellary. But the clout of this minister was such that within a couple of days of the transfer,the officers were posted in their original positions in Bellary.

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When I submitted my first mining report,I hoped that illegal mining would be reduced in the districts of Bellary,Chitradurga and Tumkur. But I am sorry to note that it has increased very much after my first report,mainly because of the failure of the government to implement that report. After this minister took over as minister-in-charge of the district,Bellary district came to be referred to as the “Republic of Bellary”.

At this stage,I would like to recall an incident which took place on 12/9/2009. When [IFS officer U V Singh,on a reliable report that illegal iron ore mining was taking place in Bellary district,found that information to be true,he went to the spot,where he was confronted by certain people [who said that the mining is being done by a person connected to Somashekara Reddy,MLA,and brother of the minister-in-charge of the district. U V Singh was made to talk with Somashekara Reddy on the cellphone. When Somashekara Reddy asked him a pointed question,whether he had taken the permission of the minister-in-charge of Bellary to enter Bellary,U V Singh replied that as a citizen of India he does not require anybody’s permission to visit Bellary. Later,U V Singh overheard the people who had approached him talking about filing an SC/ST atrocity case against him. The facts show that the administration in Bellary has totally collapsed. Sadly,the person at the helm of affairs in Karnataka reportedly pleaded helplessness.

‘G J Reddy Sir’

An amount of Rs 4,79,03,917 has been paid to “Sri G J Reddy Sir” as Bellary risk amount. Of course this is not a final figure. The amount has been paid through bank accounts [of Sree Bhakta Markandeshwara Minerals and Sri Lakshmi Venkateshwara Minerals. The rest has been paid in cash. The amount has been routed through circuitous routes. It should be recovered by following the provisions of law and forfeited to the state government. Action should also be initiated against “Sri G J Reddy Sir” under the various provisions of law.

First published on: 01-08-2011 at 12:53:44 am
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