Documentary film 'Blood & Iron' : Short outline

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: A story of the convergence of crime, business and politics in southern India : This documentary film in three overlapping segments highlights the political, economic and ecological consequences of iron ore mining in and around the Bellary district of Karnataka and Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

: New Republic of Bellary : The promoters of privately owned mining companies in Bellary/Ananthapur, who used to fund the activities of political leaders in the past, are today important politicians themselves. Among them are the Gali Reddy brothers, two of whom hold ministerial positions in the B. S. Yeddyurappa led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka. Gali Janardhana Reddy is Minister for Tourism and Infrastructure Development and Gali Karunakara Reddy is Revenue Minister while Gali Somasekhara Reddy is President, Karnataka Milk Federation. A close associate of the Reddy brothers, B. Sreeramulu, is Health Minister in the state government. The Reddy brothers and their supporters reportedly have links with influential politicians in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh where they have promoted a mining company.

The influence of the brothers has not diminished despite allegations – by the Karnataka Lokayukta (or ‘People’s Ombudsman’), the Union Ministry of Mines as well as the Supreme Court of India appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) – that their supporters and associates have indulged in illegal mining. It has been alleged that the boundary between the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has been trespassed and that forest laws had been violated during mining operations. The Reddy brothers and their associates deny these allegations.

: Red Gold : The second part of the film highlights the economics of iron ore mining and exports from the region that has immensely enriched a small section of people even as there has not been any substantial improvement in the lives of the ordinary people who live in the area. Bellary contributes roughly a fifth of the entire iron ore that is extracted in India. In July 2010, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa acknowledged in the state assembly that over 30 million tonnes of iron ore had been illegally exported from Karnataka over a seven-year period between April 2003 and March 2010. The biggest beneficiary of the export of iron ore ‘fines’ from the region has been China. Windfall profits were earned by miners and exporters as the demand for iron ore shot up in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

: Red Earth : The third part of the film highlights how iron ore mining, much of it illegal, has resulted in lopsided development in Bellary and Ananthapur. While mining has created a nouveau riche class in the region who ride helicopters and luxury cars, large sections of the people of the are live in abject poverty.

How did the Reddy brothers from Bellary, the sons of a police constable, become so wealthy and politically powerful? How did they successfully subvert the system of administration or governance and even the judiciary? Is the power of money so pervasive? How did the loot from Bellary and Ananthapur covertly fund two of the largest political parties in India? How long will the Gali Reddy brothers be able to brazen it out protesting their innocence? Will they resign their ministerial positions? Will the allegations against them be proved in a court of law and will they be punished for their misdemeanours? Only time can provide answers to these questions.

For more information contact:

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Mobile: (+91) 98101-70435

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