The Karnataka Government’s plan to industrialise Yadwad and Kunnal Village in Gokak and Ramdurg Taluk of Belgaum District may remain a distant dream due to arm-twisting tactics by people in the corridors of power.
The Karnataka Government, after realising that the area is rich in dolomite and limestone reserves, issued a notification to attract large organisations so that optimised mining of raw material takes place and progress in the area is accelerated.
Government of Karnataka had notified 1254.53 hectares of land vide Notification No. DMG/AML/ADV/07 dated 18.01.2007.
Several large and small companies applied. Most were rejected on technical grounds. Three companies were shortlisted but finally a large firm with proven track record was accepted by the government.
Following this, a notification was issued stating that this firm would be securing land at Yadwad and all the raw materials in that area will go to them, legally granting them the mining lease.
After the notification and before the firm could purchase land from individual landowners, Subhash Mavadeppa Bidari, brother of former Karnataka police chief Shanker Bidari suddenly purchased a sizeable area at Yadwad.
As the Bidaris acquired 60 acres of land in the core area of mining lease, they are now blackmailing the Company by quoting 20 times the actual cost of land and also inappropriately influencing authorities to gain mining rights.
Prashant Bidari who is a mining engineer and a friend of the Bidaris understands the gaps in the government. As the person in the Karnataka government who issued the notification is not aware of this move, the concerned file will move independently.
This is a game only influential people with strong connections play whenever government issues such notifications. They buy land not for farming or for mining as they do not have the mining lease but simply to blackmail genuine companies who wish to industrialise and develop the area.
Shubhash, through his former DGP brother, instead of going through the tribunal, directly approached the High Court for a mining lease and, due to his proximity with the judges, the case was accepted. The case recorded at the High Court is Shubhash Mavadeppa Bidri versus Government of Karnataka. Since the ex-police chief is hand-in-glove with the government commission, there is a possibility of the Karnataka government saying that the earlier notification was faulty.The present situation is that as the surface rights is owned by the Bidris, the firm cannot do mining there and consequently the Bidris too cannot mine there because the firm owns notifications on the ground.
In the light of the above and greater interest of the state, the Karnataka government should wake up and take suo motu action to remove this stalemate.