MAC: Mines and Communities

Bauxite mining is disastrous: NGO

Published by MAC on 2005-07-19

Bauxite mining is disastrous: NGO

The Hindu

July 19 2005

Rare flora and fauna may disappear

* Displacement of aboriginal people from agency area
* Protection of soil and moisture of hills to be impaired
* Mining areas is the catchment to important rivers
* Water resources, ground water will be depleted
* Job opportunities to trials to be limited

Samata, a social action group fighting for tribal rights, on Monday said that the agreement signed by the State Government with the Jindal Group to undertake mining of bauxite deposits in Visakhapatnam district would cause serious environmental destruction to the ecologically fragile Eastern Ghats.

Known for winning famous Samata judgment in the Supreme Court against mining by Birla Percales in Nimmalapadu area in 1997, the NGO’s executive, director, Ravi Rebbapragada, said that the project, if implemented, would hit tribal lifestyle and lead to displacement of aboriginal people from the agency area.

Catchment areas

Mr. Ravi told reporters that the mining area was the catchment to important rivers like Sileru, Matchkhaund amd their tributaries, the Gosthani and Sarada.

“ Rare and important flora and fauna like Indian Gaur, endangered bird species like Athera Belwetti, golden gecko and others would become extinct due to the disturbance to their natural habitant,” he said. Pointing out that the hills with bauxite reserves grnerally act like a hard cap to protect the soil and moisture of these hills, he said once the laer was removed it (large scale mining) would completely denude the soil and biodiversity, besides dangerously affecting the water table.

Taking strong exception to the public impression being created by the authorities that mining would lead to economic prosperity of the tribals and create more job opportunities, he said that Samata would sensitise prople on how mining in Damonjodi and other areas of Orissa had crated only a few handful of jobs for the locals due to the sophisticated machines used in mining.

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