Mountain View


Ballari (pronounced ) is a district in Karnataka state, India.

Historical sites, farm land and rich minerals characterize Ballari district. It is also the home of the former capital of the famous Vijayanagara Empire, Vijayanagara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recently making headlines with mining industry, Ballari, the district’s capital, is known as Steel City and Gani Nadu (City of Mining) .



Ballari district is spread from southwest to northeast and is situated on the eastern side of Karnataka state. The district is 15 30 and 1550 north latitude and 75 40 and 77 11 east longitude. The geographical area is 8447 km.

This district is bounded by Raichur District on the north, Koppal District on the west, Chitradurga District and Davanagere District on the south, and Anantapur District and Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh on the east.

The normal rainfall is 639 mm.


Ballari comes under the administrative control of Gulbarga division and development jurisdiction of H.K.D.B, Gulbarga.

It has 2 revenue sub divisions, Ballari subdivision and Hosapete subdivision, which in all have seven taluks. The Ballari subdivision has 3 taluks, while there are four taluks in Hosapete subdivision. There are 27 hoblies, one Corporation, one City Municipal Council, two town municipality, six town panchayats, 542 revenue villages, and 436 thandas/habitations.

According to the 2011 census Bellary district has a population of 2,532,383, roughly equal to the nation of Kuwait or the US state of Nevada. This gives it a ranking of 168th in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 300 inhabitants per square kilometre (780/sq mi) . Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 24.92%. Bellary has a sex ratio of 978 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 67.85%.

Assembly and Parliament constituencies

The district consists of one Indian Parliament constituency and nine Karnataka Legislative Assembly constituencies. These are 88. Hadagali (SC), 89. Hagaribommanahalli (SC), 90. Vijayanagara (GEN), 91. Kampli (ST), 92. Siruguppa (ST), 93. Ballari (ST), 94. Ballari City (GEN), 95. Sandur (ST), and 96. Kudligi (ST). Out of these, the Assembly constituency of Siruguppa is part of the Parliament constituency of Koppal.


The major occupation of this district is agriculture and 75% of its total labour force is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood. The important crops grown are cotton, jowar, groundnuts, rice, sunflowers and cereals. The net irrigated area is 37% of the net area sown.

As of 1998, the main source of irrigation is Tungabhadra Dam. The canal network accounts for 64% of the district’s irrigated area. Important rivers are Tungabhadra, Hagari and Chikkahagari. The western taluks of the district have been plagued by low rainfall for successive years. However, during the current and preceding years, heavy rains have created havoc in the district leaving many in the lurch.


Ballari district is rich in natural resources which need to be tapped to a great extent for overall development of the district. This district is endowed with rich mineral resources. It has both metallic and non-metallic minerals. The metallic minerals include iron ore, manganese ore, redoxide, gold, copper and lead. The non-metallic minerals include andalusite, asbestos, corundum, clay, dolomite, limestone, limekankan, moulding sand, quartz, soap stone, granite and red ochre. The metallic minerals are abundant is only three talukas, Sanduru, Hosapete and Ballari in the order of mining activity intensity. The annual production of Iron ore is anywhere between 2.75 and 4.5 million tonnes, and manganese ore between 0.13 million tonnes to 0.30 million tonnes (1991). Ballari presently is the second fastest growing city in the state of Karnataka after Bengaluru. The real estate prices have already started to shoot as more and more industries are finding their way into this city. Ballari to its credit has the second largest single rock mountain in the world.

Mining industry

Ballari district has 25% of India’s Iron ore reserves. Till 1994 handful of mining companies operated here including state owned NMDC. Later Govt issued mining licenses to many private operators. Mining Industry boomed with surge in Iron Ore prices due to demand from emerging China. Mining license allocation policy from Central govt was based on Political Nepotism rather than merit. Flawed mining policy lead to widespread illegal mining. Since year 2000 money from illegal money flowed into electoral politics of Karnataka State. This led to emergence of powerful Reddy Brothers to state politics. Reddy brothers fueled money from illegal mining into politics, there by King Makers of Karnataka State politics. Ombudsman report on mining in Karnataka state found that the promoters of privately owned mining companies in the Bellary region paid off politicians, and then joined politics themselves, rising to positions in the Karnataka state government. These mining businessmen-turned-politicians exerted so much influence over the local officials that the Indian media began describing Bellary as a “new republic”.

Despite the availability of minerals in large quantities, this district is considered to be an industrially backward district. There are 23 units of large and medium scale industries in this district with an investment of Rs.447.76 crores employing around 9,222 persons At present it occupies ninth place in the state. Sathavahana Ispat Ltd. is the first Pig Iron plant set up in the region to utilize the abundant iron ore reserves available, Kirloskar was the next to follow with their Pig Iron plant. However, with the commissioning of Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Limited at Hosapete, the industry scenario of this district underwent sea changes. It is understood that Mukand Steels and Kalyani Steels have started industries in this area. The inflow of investment into these industries would be around Rs.30,000 Crores. The district will therefore come under heavy pressure on basic infrastructure such as power, communication, health, education and police stations which again invite heavy investment to create the needed infrastructure. Urgent action is needed to pool the resources under various sectors such as District Sector, State sector, Border Area Development, HKDB etc., and prepare a perspective plan to the emerging challenges. It has already drawn the attention of social scientists economists, administrators and other related functionaries to think over the possible positive and negative impact in this area. The ruthless and illegal mining of iron ore in the district has caused envoirnmental damage and also wide-ranging social and economical impact.