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State News And Discussion - 3
As Andhra protests snowball, PM says ‘nothing in haste’

Quote:Nidhi Sharma/Omar Farooq | New Delhi/Hyderabad

Amidst snowballing protests and a political backlash from its own legislators, the Congress-led UPA Government on Friday gave clear indications that it would wait for tempers to cool down before acting on creation of Telangana. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured Congress’ MPs hailing from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra Pradesh that no decision would be taken in haste.

Violence erupted across 13 districts of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra Pradesh on the strike call given by political parties and students’ organisations protesting against Telangana on Friday. Normal life was derailed totally as shops and business establishments, educational institutions, petrol pumps and other facilities remained closed and roads wore a deserted look in cities across the two regions.

Angry mobs targeted buses and other vehicles. The police arrested at least 200 people in connection with stray incidents of violence. Effigies of TRS leader K Chandrasekhar Rao were burnt in Kadapa, Vijaywada, Anantapur and port city of Visakhapatanam.

Seeing KCR’s success, other political leaders also threatened to go on fast-unto-death for a united Andhra Pradesh. Lagdapati Rajagopal, the first Congress MP to resign, and late Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy’s younger brother YS Vivekananda Reddy have expressed such [color="#FF0000"]intentions[/color].

In the backdrop of increasing protests, the Prime Minister convened a meeting of 20-odd non-Telangana MPs in Parliament on Friday morning and heard their views patiently. Emerging from the meeting, Minister of State and Andhra Pradesh MP MM Pallam Raju said, “We conveyed the sentiments of people of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra Pradesh to the Prime Minister. He assured us that no decision will be taken in haste and we will definitely keep our sentiments in mind.”

The MPs conveyed to the Prime Minister that there had been a spate of resignations by legislators because they were finding it difficult to explain the situation to their constituents. “We have told the Prime Minister that we are finding it difficult to go back to our constituents as the mood is for a united Andhra Pradesh,” Raju said.

At the same time, the resignation drama continued unabated even on the second day of protest. Elected representatives at different levels of the political pyramid cutting across party lines have resigned from their posts in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.
If Telengana is separated

Rayalaseema needs its own state

Reason being, Vizag is even more further away than Hyderabad

It may make sense to merge Telengana and Rayalaseema

Once Telengana with Hyderabad is removed, in residual Andhra, muslims will be 5% and powerless

and not appealing as a vote bank

Whereas in Telengana, the muslim poison will cross the threshold

and be about 17% at this level, hindus wake up and get communally polarised

and will lead to BJP regime
Implications of other mini-states

North Kerala - is already demanded is already 45% muslim

Seemanchal - North east bihar, is already 40% muslim

Harit Pradesh - already 30% muslim, may be just right for BJP backlash
Quote:Hyderabad will be capital of Telangana: TRS chief


IANS | Hyderabad

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao Saturday asserted that Hyderabad would be the capital of the proposed Telangana state, and rejected suggestions of making it a shared capital with Andhra Pradesh.

Rao, whose 11-day hunger strike forced the central government to agree to the demand for a Telangana state, told NDTV news channel that Hyderabad cannot be made a joint capital on the lines of Chandigarh.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said: "Hyderabad can't be compared with Chandigarh. It is not a new bifurcation. Telangana state existed earlier with Hyderabad as capital while Andhra state had Kurnool as its capital."

KCR also pointed out that Hyderabad is geographically located in Telangana. "How can they (Andhra) claim Hyderabad. Does it make any sense?"
he asked.

The TRS chief also assured people of other regions of Andhra Pradesh settled in Hyderabad that they could continue to live here in peace after the formation of the new state.

He also said there was no question of going back on a separate Telangana state, and added that the protests in other regions against it were stage managed and sponsored by vested interests who had invested money and acquired lands illegally in Hyderabad.

KCR said passing a resolution in the state assembly was not necessary to carve out Telangana. He said he had full faith in United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that they would take the necessary measures for formation of the state.

"I have lot of faith in Sonia Gandhi. And Manmohan Singhji, who is at the helm of affairs today, is a fairly good person. Having made an announcement on behalf of the Government of India, it is up to them to solve the problem," Rao told the channel.

Rao said he had been invited to New Delhi for talks.

"They have invited me to Delhi for talks soon after my recovery. I said that I can come only after a week or 10 days. I am not even able to come out of my residence. I with difficulty went to the balcony and waved to the people," Rao said.

"Hyderabad is such a place ... such a good society. It allows everybody, absorbs everybody," said Rao.

"In Hyderabad, not just Andhras, but Maharashtrians, Kannadigas and Kayasths from north India live."

He accused the Andhra Pradesh people of "exploiting" the employment opportunities of Telangana region.

"Ultimately our people were pushed to go to the Gulf countries. The agony of Telangana is that 35,000 Telanganas are in jails in Gulf countries,"
Rao said.

"Why should Telangana suffer. And Hyderabad city?" he asked.

"We used to have an airport much before the formation of AP (Andhra Pradesh). Today's all railway stations have been constructed by the Nizam. All the hospitals, educational institutions have been built by the Nizam," Rao said.
[url="http://www.dailypioneer.com/222235/Stable-Government-now-looks-weak.html"]My link[/url]

Quote:The Andhra Pradesh crisis is a self-inflicted wound. When Telangana leader K Chandrasekhara Rao began his fast unto death, or at least unto partition, he was treated with such supreme indifference that no Minister in New Delhi even bothered to treat it as a problem. The earth was warming in Hyderabad, but the statements and newspaper headlines were only about climate change in Copenhagen. Rao was dismissed as an irritant without a cause. After all, the Congress had just triumphed for a second time in the State. I suspect that the complete disconnect with New Delhi multiplied the anger and brought Osmania University’s students out. Youth provide critical mass to any momentum and, as we have seen in the past, there is enough volatility in the State to induce the ultimate sacrifice of suicide. Rao himself could no more have ended his fast than he could have abandoned his dream of a separate State; it would have been political suicide. Those with a memory know that the Telugu-speaking areas of Madras Presidency were merged into the Nizam’s Telugu domain as a result of a fast, by a Gandhian called Potti Sriramulu. Nehru allowed him to die, by December 15; but even the enormous credibility of Nehru and Congress in 1953 could not stop the realisation of the demand. Sriramulu achieved in death what he could not in life, and forced Nehru to accept the principle of linguistic States. Rao has achieved what he may never have obtained without a Russian roulette gamble. The Congress of 2009 had neither the wisdom to negotiate on the first day of the fast, nor the strength to let the fast continue. The high command succumbed with startling speed, signalling to Gorkhaland, Vidarbha, Harit Pradesh and Bundelkhand that if they keep their eyes open and focussed the Government will blink.

Is this the point at which the Manmohan Singh Government begins to bleed from an Achilles heel? Much depends on how well the Prime Minister and Ms Sonia Gandhi bandage the breach, but the Andhra Pradesh story is going to be in play for a while and will expose the contradictions inherent in a unitary national party that was unable to manage an epochal change. If the Andhra Pradesh Congress bleeds from a local civil war the stain will spread.

Tension is good for governance; taut nerves keep your body on its toes, and the mind alert. After this year’s general election, the tension fizzled out from Government, and rushed directly into the Opposition. Tension, by the way, is not good for Opposition, as is pretty obvious, isn’t it? If the Government does not recover its balance we could have a very curious dilemma: Authority is in disarray, and the Opposition spread-eagled. But the Indian people will be in array.
[url="http://www.dailypioneer.com/222245/Cong%E2%80%99s-inept-State.html"]Cong’s inept State[/url]

Chandan Mitra

Quote:What made the dramatic events of last Wednesday midnight quite incredulous was the rapidity of capitulation by the Congress high command. That fasting Telangana leader K Chandrashekhar Rao’s health was deteriorating by the hour was apparent for at least three days previously. But the ruling dispensation in Delhi displayed no great concern, evidently confident of tackling the situation on the law and order front as well as managing to break KCR’s resolve, and get him over to the Capital for protracted negotiations.

In the past, the Telangana leader had not demonstrated iron will and appeared eager to compromise whenever rewards were dangled before him. His political judgement was also not particularly spectacular; it was rather strange that he should have put in an appearance at NDA’s last pre-election rally in Ludhiana in May although his party was contesting the poll in alliance with BJP’s ex-partner TDP and the Left. KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi came a cropper in the elections, bagging just 10 Assembly seats out of the region’s 119.

Once more, pundits busily penned the maverick leader’s political obituary, ascribing his party’s declining fortunes to KCR’s erratic behaviour, failure to rein in malcontents in the organisation and, most importantly, inability to retain the faith of followers that he could actually deliver a separate State.

Where the Congress high command erred was in assuming that KCR’s popularity was in terminal decline and for a third time since Independence the demand for statehood had been successfully defused. Aware of mounting doubts about his leadership qualities, KCR opted to gamble with his life. Probably even he was pleasantly surprised by the manner in which the latent popular demand for statehood got ignited by his decision to fast unto death. Students of Osmania University took the lead yet again in galvanising the movement, just as their parents had done in the 70s when M Channa Reddy had raised the banner of revolt through his Telangana Praja Samithi.

Buoyed by public support KCR’s resolve steeled and this time he spurned all allurements. Meanwhile, absence of a master tactician like YS Rajashekhar Reddy had weakened the Congress’s negotiating skills. Besides, the party had reluctantly accepted the high command’s diktat anointing K Rosaiah as Chief Minister; privately most party MLAs continued to root for YSR’s son Jaganmohan. They obviously seized this opportunity to embarrass the Chief Minister and “expose” him before the high command.

In many senses, Congress is now paying for its duplicity. It swept the 2004 elections in alliance with TRS, half-heartedly pledging statehood for Telangana without any serious intention to keep the promise. The Pranab Mukherjee Committee set up by the Prime Minister to examine the issue was aimed only at buying time. Exasperated by the pussy-footing, KCR quit the Union Cabinet in 2006, but the fact that he had grabbed the first loaf of office thrown at him without clinching Telangana first, sharply lowered his credibility, which was reflected in the near rout of his party in the by-elections that followed his decision to pull out all elected representatives and seek a renewed mandate.

Had the Congress used Manmohan Singh’s first term to initiate the process of statehood for Telangana, it would not have been forced to procrastinate before KCR virtually at gunpoint. Having done so last Wednesday, it now has to reap the whirlwind of fury that has gripped the rest of Andhra Pradesh. This is what happens when a leadership concedes a demand under pressure: Pre-existing fissures elsewhere open up instantly because the ground has not been prepared patiently over time to bring other interest groups around to accepting the idea.

The ham-handed manner in which the Congress leadership handled Telangana, therefore, stands out in stark contrast to the finesse displayed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee who carved out as many as three new States during his six year tenure.

Unlike Congress, the BJP was earnest about its manifesto commitment to create Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand out of UP, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar respectively. Vajpayee picked up the threads only after the agitations for statehood had peaked in these areas. In fact, he added Chhattisgarh to the list although there was never much of a demand for it. With the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal spending much of its ammunition in the bloody conflict with trigger-happy Mulayam Singh’s police and the All-Jharkhand Students’ Union and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha on the decline, it was relatively easy to move peacefully towards setting up these States.

BJP also introduced the idea of the existing Assemblies adopting resolutions for division of their respective States. Even Lalu Prasad, never an enthusiastic promoter of Jharkhand, fell in line. Consequently in November 2000, the first major division of States since their original reorganisation in 1955 was accomplished seamlessly. Nine years have passed but the creation of three new States has not led to an explosion of unrest elsewhere, except for occasional stirrings in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district.

It’s different this time, because the Centre has capitulated under pressure and fear of violence. Leaders like Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s Bimal Gurung will now be compelled to launch a hard line agitation on TRS’s lines if he has to retain command of the Gorkhaland movement. This trend could be repeated to revive dormant demands for Harit Pradesh and Vidarbha, besides spurring relatively fledgling agitations for Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Bodoland, Karbi Anglong and a host of separatist tendencies in Assam. Of these, I foresee a significant surge first for Gorkhaland — a demand that has simmered for more than three decades and revived in a big way after Gurung successfully sidelined Subhash Ghising some 10 years ago.

For the BJP, this will pose a dilemma because its erstwhile bigwig Jaswant Singh is the incumbent MP from Darjeeling who won the seat on the lotus symbol but was sponsored by GJM. However, since the party has reiterated its commitment to establishing smaller States and, after shedding its alliance with TDP, supported Telangana, it should be able to work its way through the maze. It is the Congress which is now hoist with its own petard.

Although most parties are cagey about it, I believe the only way out now is to set up a fresh States’ Reorganisation Commission. Statehood demands have gone beyond linguistic contours and are today focused more on relative economic deprivation, cultural identities, ethnic separateness and so on. Besides, some States like UP are simply too big and unwieldy to be governed as one politico-administrative entity. In other cases, such as in the North-East, mixed tribal and plains populations make it difficult to undertake surgical operations, so a greater degree of local autonomy may be the answer.

Instead of helplessly waiting for KCR clones to sprout all over the country, political maturity demands that the Centre takes the initiative through a new Commission that can lay down clear guidelines for accepting or rejecting statehood demands. There could be some short-lived turmoil on this score, but that would be easier to handle than waiting for violent agitations to explode all over India.
I think, some politicians who want to kick out babu bengaya PM to retirement. PM was touring west and I think, he was not informed about political situation. There is major difference between Babu and Politicians, when politicians will go out of site he will have reliable Sanjay watching hen house, but when Babu is out of site, all Chaprasi and sectaries have conspiracy field day.

So who is planing to outsmart Babu?

Any Guess?
[url="http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/dec/14/tvr-shenoy-asks-why-we-are-scared-of-small-states.htm"]TVR Shenoy in Rediff[/url]

Quote:The flames engulfing Andhra Pradesh today -- now threatening to scorch even distant Assam and Bengal -- were lit by the Congress as far back as 1920, notes T V R Shenoy.
Now Delhi Congress is demanding YSR son's head.
[quote name='Mudy' date='16 December 2009 - 12:17 AM' timestamp='1260902369' post='102978']

Now Delhi Congress is demanding YSR son's head.


I don't understand why the coterie will not allow YSR's son to assume the evangelist mantle in AP. He doesn't pose any threat to the dynasty..
He is ambitious as his father. Well, he is not using helicopter like his father. <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Big Grin' />
Is that a competition between Yuvraj and YSRjr?
I believe that the ideal size for a state is between 12MPs to 30MPs

anything more leads to inefficient administration

Yes, I am in favor of south Tamil Nadu too, with capital at Madurai

and south of the cauvery

I am in favor of Vidharba, with 13 MPs

and multilingual North Bengal too, with 10 MPs

North bengal will have a bengali plurality with a sizable minority of

Gurkhas and Kamtapuris

UP, needs to be cut into 4 pieces

a 27% muslim Harit pradesh will lead rapidly to communal polarization

with benefits to BJP

Telengana with 17% muslim will lead rapidly to communal polarization

with benefits to BJP

I am in favor of statehood to all backward regions including


Regarding loss of Hyderabad, nothing happened to Telegu property

when they 'lost' Chennai

In fact most of the Telegus in TN are leaders of the

Dravidian parties

Karunanidhi comes from a Telegu speaking family as does Vaiko
The other angle is the colonialist attitude of the Andhra people to Telengana

All I hear is 'Telengana belongs to us' as if the telengana people are

the coolies of the Andhra people

The dravidianist parties for all their faults have foisted a pan-tamil

linguistic consciousness and the only demand for partition comes

from the prosperous north TN region by Ramadoss who wants a vanniar state

There is also a pan-linguist feeling in Karnataka

The backward north karnataka is happy since they are filled with

Lingayats and Yedi is CM
Does anyone know which issues force the creation of a new state? What is to be gained from getting a new state?

If the only reason to get a new state is to appease to the false pride of a few Indians, or simply because a minority wants a new state, then the creation of these states is wrong. If there are infrastructure and economical gains which could be had from creating a new state, only then does it make sense.

If we allow India to be carved into little states based on ethnicity, states will start becoming openly segregated. Some might even try to seceed (declare their state as an independent nation not a part of India). Presence or abscence of minorities should never be the only driving force behind the creation of new states.
Quote:Does anyone know which issues force the creation of a new state? What is to be gained from getting a new state?

Its all about money and power. When one section is dominating power and money and not sharing with other smaller groups that creates dissatisfaction.

Let me tell you benefits, Telengana MPs will build new Capital and they will buy or already own land and later give deals to their own people, all together they will gain power in that region. They will create new bureaucracy, it will benefit their own people. More jobs for that area. For common people, they will see some progress, country population is so huge, with smaller states it will be more manageable and they will see benefits. But immediate benefits will go to leaders and big shot MPs and MLAs of new state.

Separation of Chattisgarh from MP made huge difference in over-all manageability of Chattisgarh. Chattisgarh was ignored part of world when it was part of MP. No modernization, no system at all, horrible road and rail links. Even now, long way to go, but it is improving.
[size="3"]It's the sound of silence at Bellary mines[/size]

Quote:BELLARY: The hour is close to dusk on December 4 at Obulapuram on the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border and a game of cricket is drawing to an end for the local lads. The setting is surreal, almost spectacular. The ground is a large patch of level land bordered on one side by sloping rock. On the other side, a makeshift road cloaked by a thick layer of iron-ore dust — its redness accentuated by the setting sun — snakes along on its way to the open pit mines in the distance. For as far as the eye can see, the game of cricket is the only oasis of activity.

Until November 25, the exotic playground was only a useless corner of minesite of the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC). Around it, the air reverberated with the sounds of the dynamite used to blast rock containing iron ore. Excavators gouged out the earth for the mineral and thousands of trucks were loaded with their cargo of ore before heading to distant ports. And suddenly, the Andhra Pradesh government was overcome by a burst of courage: it suspended mining in the area and stopped transportation of the mineral through the state. Obulapuram’s young cricketers had a new playground.

The gates to the playground began to open in early September, when a helicopter carrying Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy came down in bad weather, killing a man who was at the peak of his career and who ruled the state with an iron fist. The political games had begun, and its ramifications would be felt far and wide.

In Anantapur, divisional forest officer (DFO) Kallol Biswas — Obulapuram is part of his turf — was keeping an eagle eye on developments in Hyderabad and New Delhi. Would Jaganmohan Reddy, YSR’s son, be successful in his audacious bid to become the new chief minister? If the 36-year-old made it, the status quo would continue. Mr Biswas was acutely aware of the close links between the YSR family and the powerful Reddy brothers of Bellary, who have been accused of large-scale illegal mining in both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Janardhan Reddy and his elder sibling Karunakar are both ministers in Karnataka, while the youngest brother Somasekhar heads a lucrative milk co-operative. Their close associate B Sriramulu is the state’s health minister and the Reddy brothers command the support of some 50 legislators.

When it became clear that Congress president Sonia Gandhi was in no mood to humour YSR’s son, Mr Biswas swung into action. Within the span of a week, at the end of October and early November, mining firms controlled by the Reddy brothers were slapped with a series of notices for allegedly committing a litany of illegal acts. It was almost as if Mr Biswas was trying to make up for three years of inaction.

The accusations were grave: OMC, Mr Biswas wrote, destroyed inter-state boundary pillars between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh; it encroached into a neighbouring mine run by Bellary Iron Ore (BIOP) and it laid a road illegally inside the forest to transport ore mined in Karnataka.

Anantapur Mining (AMC), another firm controlled by the Reddy brothers, was accused of operating without a forest department permit and illegally mining iron ore. “Strong-arm tactics were common. We would dig trenches to prevent their vehicles from crossing over into unallocated forest land and they would have them filled,” a forest official observed.

Mr Janardhan Reddy insists that the allegations are untrue and claims he ‘is on the correct path’.

The son of a police constable, Mr Janardhan Reddy, is the most enterprising of the three brothers. He headed a chit fund called Ennoble India, which was ordered in 1998 to stop operations for violating norms relating to acceptance of deposits and investments.

After Mr Janardhan Reddy took control of OMC in 2002, his fortunes soared, with generous help from the regime of the late YSR. The turnover of OMC, which owns just three leases totalling less than 135 hectare, skyrocketed from about Rs 35 crore in 2003-04 to Rs 3,000 crore during 2008-09.

Mr Biswas’ notices were just what Chandrababu Naidu of the Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was waiting for in Hyderabad. For years, he had tried to pin down YSR on the issue of illegal mining, but had met with little success. With the Andhra Pradesh strongman out of the way, Mr Naidu trained his guns on the Reddy brothers. He was taking aim at Jagan.

While Mr Biswas busied himself issuing notices, an insecure Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa had a bout of bravado. Believing that this was the opportune moment to strike, he transferred top officials perceived to be close to the mining barons from their perches in Bellary. He also decided to impose a levy of up Rs 1,000 per trip on trucks carrying iron ore.

For the Reddy brothers, this was too much. Andhra Pradesh was nearly out of their grasp and they could not afford to let the situation in Karnataka get out of hand. They struck back hard, precipitating a 15-day crisis that pushed the first BJP government in southern India to the brink of collapse.

Mr Yeddyurappa, with the blessings of the Reddys’ godmother Sushma Swaraj, was made to eat humble pie. He was forced to rescind the transfers, put on hold the transport levy, drop close aide Shobha Karandlaje from the Cabinet and remove VP Baligar as his principal secretary.

“Mr Yeddyurappa tried to contain the Reddys, but he failed. The party decided that it was better to lose one district (Bellary) and save the state,” a senior BJP leader said. While the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh has gone ahead and roped in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a probe into illegal mining, Mr Yeddyurappa has stoically refused to allow any such thing.

“For the Congrss, the entire state is at stake, but for us it is only a question of one district, which we have already conceded. But if the CBI is serious and starts investigating opposition politicians in Karnataka with links

to illegal mining, then things will change,” the BJP leader added.

With a chastened Mr Yeddyurappa arm-twisted into an uneasy truce, the mining barons, with Mr Janardhan Reddy at their head, are targeting their ire at the Congress and Mr Naidu and attempting to consolidate in Karnataka. Mr Janardhan Reddy is especially concerned about the fate of the Brahmani Steel project promoted by him in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district.

Estimated to involve an investment of about Rs 20,000 crore, he’ll be in deep trouble if it comes unstuck. If the situation in Andhra Pradesh becomes unbearable for him, observers expect the project to be relocated to Bellary, where Mr Reddy has conceptualised the Vijayanagar Area Development Authority as a steel hub.

“Attack me politically; I have no problem with that. But don’t try and harm my business interests,” Mr Janardhan Reddy said.

The TDP leader, in particular, has been the target of acerbic comments. He has been described by Mr Janardhan Reddy as “politically unemployed” and a hater of the Reddy community. The Karnataka tourism minister has even promised to end the political career of Andhra Pradesh’s Opposition leader. For Mr Naidu, the fight has taken on a personal edge, and he is vowing to “take the issue to its logical conclusion”.

“He thinks he can overcome the legislature, buy the executive and overcome the judiciary. I have been in politics for 28 years, chief minister for nine years and I am the leader of the principal Opposition party. A man who has been in politics for five years has the guts to say that he will finish my career,” remarked a furious Mr Naidu, referring to Mr Janardhan Reddy.

In Bellary, the handful of mine-owners who haven’t succumbed into making deals with the Reddy brothers are angry, terrified and almost helpless. The Reddy mining barons don’t own a single lease in Karnataka, but they control all but a dozen iron-ore mines in Bellary through what are called ‘raising contracts’. Through such contracts, the Reddy brothers operate the mines owned by the leaseholders in exchange for a share of the profit. So, while Andhra Pradesh may have applied the squeeze, the Reddy brothers have ensured that they can operate unhindered in Karnataka, their main cash cow.

Too scared to come on record, the holdouts say they have been subjected to a campaign of intimidation and harassment — with the active involvement of the official state government machinery — for not falling in line and handing over the control of their mines to the Reddy brothers.

They say false cases have been booked against their staff, their vehicles have been seized by the traffic police and mining has come to a standstill because the forest department refuses to give permits on false pretexts.

“I am ready to die here, but I will not give in,” said a mine-owner, almost on the verge of tears.

The biggest thorn in the side of the Reddy brothers has been Tapal Ganesh, the only mine-owner who has had the gumption to publicly defy them. He has initiated a dogged legal fight that resulted in a Supreme Court panel recommending the suspension of mining in Anantapur area. “I am here to fight till the last. Justice may be delayed, but will not be denied,” Mr Ganesh said.

In Bangalore, the head of Karnataka’s top anti-corruption body, the Lok Ayukta, is deeply frustrated. It has been about a year since Santosh Hegde submitted an exhaustive report to the government, detailing the vast extent of illegal iron-ore mining and made recommendations to curb illicit activities. He described the state government’s response as ‘half-baked and half-hearted’.

He said there are malpractices at all levels: in obtaining the lease, mining, transportation and forest clearances. “It is as if it is James Bond’s licence to shoot and kill anyone.” Citing an example, he said transport permits are given in bulk without the transporter’s name, the lorry number, the identity of the mine from which it is being taken, where it is being taken or the quantity that is being loaded. “All are blank, presigned and sealed.”

Mr Hegde, a former judge of the Supreme Court, estimates that only a third of the iron ore in Karnataka is mined legally. The state is estimated to mine about 35 million tonne of iron ore annually, earning just Rs 165 crore as royalty.

The state government gets a royalty of Rs 16-27 per tonne depending on the quality of ore. Between 2004 and 2007, the market value of the ore was Rs 6,000-7,000 per tonne. Even in the lean period, it was Rs 1,500-2,000 per tonne. The social costs of mining, too, are enormous.

“Illegal mining is ruining a generation. Boys aged between 15 and 25 are given a motorcycle and some money. They don’t go to school or college but roam around the streets of Bellary and act as informers for the miners,” Mr Hegde said.

After suffering a series of reverses starting September, the Bellary brothers had begun to breathe easier in the past few days, thanks to the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The ban on mining was stayed and the investigation by CBI — which has booked OMC and the Bellary brothers for offences such as criminal conspiracy, cheating, theft and criminal trespass — has been temporarily put on hold.

The government, which is struggling to cope with the crisis triggered by the agitation for a separate Telangana state, is somewhat distracted for now. But once again, the Supreme Court got involved on December 17 and the wheels of justice started grinding again: it lifted the stay granted by the Andhra Pradesh High Court and reimposed suspension on mining. After all, it was a panel of the highest court in the land that has delivered a scathing indictment of the shenanigans in the Bellary forest area.

In Karnataka, Mr Yeddyurappa is weakened, no doubt, but so are the Bellary brothers. More than a dozen legislators who sided with the mining barons against the chief minister are now angry that they were denied their pound of flesh when a truce was called. Before the state Assembly meets starting December 22, the disgruntled lawmakers can be expected to push the BJP government once again to the brink.

The Opposition Congress and Janata Dal (Secular), meanwhile, are licking their lips in delight. They have started baying for the blood of the Bellary brothers, and the BJP government will be hard-pressed to explain its kid-glove treatment of the mining barons. “Mr Yeddyurappa lacks guts and is intent on protecting his chair at any cost...The Bellary brothers think they can chew whatever they bite,” said Congress legislator Krishna Byre Gowda.

In Hyderabad, TDP’s Mr Naidu says chief minister Mr Rosaiah is concerned, but not concerned enough. “There is short-term political interest and long-term political interest. In the short term, he is worried how Jagan will react. But somewhere the bubble has to burst. What happened to Satyam’s Ramalinga Raju?” Obulapuram’s young cricketers may yet reclaim their playground.

Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde

It’s a political issue. Why the government is not doing anything is a question I, too, have. What is happening is the rape of Bellary. Trucks which have a permit to carry 15 tonne carry 25 tonne. Those licensed to transport 22 tonne carry 45 tonne.

The Karnataka government issued a vague order saying that in the disputed area nobody shall mine. Which is the disputed area? Somebody has to identify it. For statistics purposes — like the traffic police does — at the end of the month, the mining department will file a chargesheet against some small miner or transporter or coolie. The sections used are such that they are compoundable offences. They put a compounding fee of about Rs 25,000 when the loss is about Rs 25 lakh.

Whose property is this mineral? Government property. It is being taken away without the permission of the government. It is simple theft.

The Supreme Court's Central Empowered Committee

The location of the mining lease of OMC (25.98 hectare), now fixed by the Andhra Pradesh forest department, is wrong and unacceptable. Their effort appears to have been to cover up the illegal mining done by OMC in the unallotted forest areas outside the approved mining leases. This is simply not acceptable and vitiates the entire process of fixation of mining lease boundaries by the State of Andhra Pradesh.

The objectivity, fairness and impartiality which is expected from a state government is shockingly lacking here and does not inspire confidence. In these circumstances, it is imperative that the boundaries of the mining leases are determined and fixed by an independent agency, and till then all the mining operations in the area remain suspended.

To me it looks like its cat fight between INC segments that involves: YSJ, Bellary Bros, INC High command, AP Govt -iCM and extra players like PC and Moily.
[url="http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20091220/818/tnl-fasting-andhra-mp-disappears-from-ho.html"]Fasting Andhra MP disappears from hospital[/url] <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' />
[quote name='ramana' date='18 December 2009 - 11:16 PM' timestamp='1261157933' post='103037']

To me it looks like its cat fight between INC segments that involves: YSJ, Bellary Bros, INC High command, AP Govt -iCM and extra players like PC and Moily.


Previously, UP was known for corruption but now AP is leader of white, blue, black collar crime and corruption. Unbelievable. Even they are using same tactics abroad.

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