The five-decade-old inter-state boundary dispute between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh pertaining to the iron ore-rich Bellary Reserve Forest spread across Bellary in Karnataka and Anantapur in AP, is expected to be resolved soon with work commencing on demarcating the inter-state boundary by the Survey of India as per the directions of the Supreme Court.
A team of officials, led by Mr Swarana Subbarao, Surveyor-General of India on Saturday commenced survey work along with Srinivas, Shamshuddin and Umesh, Deputy Directors of Survey and Land Records of Karnataka and Jhansi Rani, Regional Deputy Director, Bhaskar and Devadas, Deputy Directors of Survey and Land Records of Andhra Pradesh.
The survey team covered a vast stretch of land in Bellary Reserve Forest to inspect the boundary stones on the AP-Karnataka border. Official sources said the process will continue for a few days as the inspection will cover existing boundary pillars between Siddapuram, Malapanagudi and Obulapuram in AP and Vannalli, Belagal, Tumti and Vittalpur in Karnataka.
“The process has begun. We have already verified the related maps and have undertaken a field survey to find out the existing pillars. After that, we will compile the findings after studying the maps and records. Another survey team will then visit the area to identify the boundary after which the pillars will be fixed. The process may take about four weeks, we want it to be over by May,” Mr Subbarao told reporters.
Replying to a question, he said a few boundary stones are missing and the team has been entrusted the task of refixing them.
Official sources said the survey team is bound to use the best methodology as the determination of boundaries will have a serious impact on the investigations into alleged criminal offences by lessees on both sides of the boundary.
Several efforts made earlier by both states to demarcate the boundary proved futile as they could not agree on the outcome of the surveys. Meanwhile, due to large-scale mining activity in the Bellary forest area, some of the pillars were destroyed.
The Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), owned by jailed mining baron G. Janardhan Reddy, is accused of destroying the tri-junction point between Tumti, Vittalpur and Malapanagudi and plundering natural mineral resources belonging to Karnataka. A case against OMC is still pending in a court in Sandur.
The Lokayukta report on illegal mining mentions that tonnes of iron ore were looted.