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India's Telangana state forest head de-bunks uranium project

Published by MAC on 2020-07-18
Source: Epress News Serice (India) (2020-07-18)

Telangana forest official junks uranium mining proposal in Amrabad

According to the proposal, the uranium exploration would require drilling
of 1,000 coring boreholes of three-inch diameter and 3,000 non-coring
boreholes of six-eight inch diameter.

By V Nilesh

Express News Service

12 July 2020

HYDERABAD: Telangana Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) R Sobha
has not recommended the proposal of conducting a uranium survey and
exploration in a 83-sq km area of the Amrabad Tiger Reserve, by the Atomic
Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMDER) of the
Department of Atomic Energy.

The Telangana government had come under severe criticism from
environmentalists last year, after it came to light that the State Board
for Wildlife and the previous Telangana PCCF had cleared the proposal in
2016. Following this, even the Central government agencies — National
Board for Wildlife and Forest Advisory Committee — granted in-principle
clearances.

This was despite the AMDER not submitting proposals in the format
prescribed by the Centre.The rejection of the proposal by the PCCF comes
after AMDER re-submitted the proposal in the necessary format. According
to the proposal, the uranium exploration would require drilling of 1,000
coring boreholes of three-inch diameter and 3,000 non-coring boreholes of
six-eight inch diameter.

Drilling would require felling of many trees

The field reports by Forest Divisional Officers from Nagarjunasagar and
Amrabad divisions of the Amrabad Tiger Reserve, available in public
domain, point out that drilling of boreholes would mean movement of men
and machinery. This would require felling of a large number of trees and
forming tracks at least five-metres wide. As a result, they did not
recommend the project.

The field director (FD) of the Amrabad Tiger Reserve also did not
recommend the project, citing that it would take five years to complete
and would disturb the movement of endangered wildlife. He also pointed out
that the project, if taken up, would cause pollution of “monumental
proportions” of water resources and soil, thereby impacting the life of
people and wildlife.

The FD also said as the project aims at extraction of uranium from the
area, which is catchment of the Krishna and Dindi rivers, the radioactive
mineral may leach into the ground and pollute rivers. This would have a
disastrous effect on the drinking and irrigation water reaching Hyderabad,
the adjoining districts and even certain areas in Andhra Pradesh.

 

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