Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border demarcation stops abruptly

There is no official map or sketch demarcating the border points, says Ballari official

The 53-day exercise to demarcate the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border in Ballari Reserve Forest stopped abruptly three days ago after the Survey of India, Ballari, and Anantapur, respective State Survey officials along with Revenue Department officers worked relentlessly since October 15.

The Supreme Court had asked the Survey of India in 2018 to arbitrate between the two States and mark about 70 points on the inter-State border over a length of 15 km in Siddapura, Malapanagudi, and Tumti in Karnataka, and three villages in D. Hirehal Mandal of Anantapur district.

Ballari Deputy Commissioner S.S. Nakul told The Hindu on Monday that the exercise was stopped as there was no official map or sketch demarcating the border points agreed upon by the officials of both the States.

โ€œI have written to the Survey of India to furnish the maps based on which the current exercise was being done. Our survey team officers were asked to sign on a document that gives the current points of pitching border survey stones, but in the absence of any authenticated document, we refused to sign,โ€ Mr. Nakul said.

โ€œThe reply is awaited,โ€ he said when asked about why such a doubt arose at this point after the exercise was being jointly done for 53 days.

The entire border dispute arises only in the iron ore rich portion of the border areas, and there is complete agreement in the non-mining areas. The Obulapuram Mining Company had allegedly blasted some reference points such as the Thimmappana Gudda โ€˜Trijunctionโ€™ marked by the Britishers during the survey then, but the Anthara Gangamma Konda โ€˜Trijunctionโ€™ reference point was available.

Meanwhile, The Hindu contacted Tapal Ganesh, the man who raised objection over the map being used by the Survey of India for demarcating the boundary and wrote to the Karnataka Chief Secretary and made a field visit to the OMC mining area, where the current Survey of India demarcation activity was done.

Mr. Ganesh contends Bellary Reserve Forest Map of 1896 was being used by the SOI officials, which was not to the scale as it was not the primary map and points did not match on the ground. โ€œIf they use the 1887 traverse data which was more accurate, the border points on the ground will also match,โ€ opined Mr. Ganesh.

A look from the Anantha Gangamma Konda Trijunction point shows the new survey boundary points going down the hill into Tumti village, but not in the direction of the Thimmappanna Gudda Trijunction, which has become the bone of contention. This change in boundary will deprive some mining leaseholders of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh of their leased areas, which were given based on village maps available with respective governments at the time of giving mining leases, but now those maps were not being referred to for final demarcation of the boundary.

Only after the inter-State border is demarcated, the Central Bureau of Investigation can proceed further in the alleged illegal mining charges being faced by the Obulapuram Mining Company, opined Mr. Ganesh.

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