MAC: Mines and Communities

Bauxite mining in East Godavari, India opposed

Published by MAC on 2005-04-28

Bauxite mining in E. Godavari, Vizag districts opposed

Our Bureau, Visakhapatnam, The Hindu Business Line

April 28 2005

The recent proposal by the State Government to permit bauxite mining in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts has evoked protests from environmentalists, NGOs and others because of the ecological implications and the likely fallout on the lifestyle of tribals.

It is estimated that the Eastern Ghats (from Papikondalu in East Godavari to Sileru in Visakhapatnam) contain 700 million tonnes of bauxite. The Telugu Desam Government made an attempt to lease out the area to a Dubai company but there was stiff opposition to the move. It had to be given up. It now seems to be the turn of the Congress Government.

Recently, the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy, convened a meeting with the officials of the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation and National Aluminium Company to explore the possibility of a joint venture to set up an alumina plant in the Chintapalli mandal of Visakhapatnam district.

Samata, an NGO, which was in the forefront in the campaign against bauxite mining, is of the opinion that the activity will spell doom to the flora and fauna in the area apart from large-scale displacement of tribals.

Mr R. Ravi, Executive Director, says that mining will change the course of the rivulets and hill streams, impeding inflows into the rivers — Sabari, Yeleru, Gostani, Sarada, Varaha and Tandava. "The whole ecological system will be upset. The Girijans in the area will be displaced and the agriculture in the vicinity will also be adversely affected," he said.

He has urged the Government to give up the proposal. He has cited the examples of Kashipur and Jadugada in Koraput district of Orissa where mining has caused large-scale displacement of tribals.

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