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Bauxite mining: AP Girijana Sangham wants MoU scrapped

Published by MAC on 2005-09-06

Bauxite mining: AP Girijana Sangham wants MoU scrapped

The Hindu Businessline

Sept. 4 2005

Visakhapatnam - The Andhra Pradesh Girijana Sangham (association of tribals) has urged the State Government to scrap the MoU signed with the Jindal group for exploitation of bauxite reserves in Visakhapatnam district and setting up of a smelter, as it will "jeopardise the livelihood of the Girijans and foul up the environment.''

The Sangham voiced the demand at a district-level seminar organised on the issue here on Sunday and all the political parties, barring the ruling Congress, supported the plea.

Mr V. Tirupathi Rao, President of the district unit of the Sangham, said the State Government had signed the MoU with the Jindal group. The association had taken up a campaign to educate the Girijans about the perils of bauxite mining and the necessity to stop the project.

A similar attempt had been made by the Telugu Desam Government in the past, but the united struggle of the Girijans and other organisations made the Government see reason and give up the attempt.

Mr M. Babu Rao, Member of the Lok Sabha from Bhadrachalam, and the State President of the Sangham, said that in accordance with the constitutional provisions, the State Government should have consulted local bodies and obtained all clearances, including eco clearance, before signing the MoU. "The decision was taken unilaterally and in violation of all stipulations. It should be fought tooth and nail," he said.

He said the Government was trying to fool the Girijans with promises of jobs in the project, but it would mean nothing but disaster for them. "The groundwater and surface water in the region will be polluted. The four of five rivulters in the region will be polluted. It will have adverse impact on the five coastal districts - Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam besides the two Godavari districts."

Mr G. Demudu, MLA representing Chitapalli, said the State Government was not really mindful of the interests of the Girijans in taking up the project, but those of the Jindal group. "Agro processing units can be set up in the region if the Government really wants to help Girijans," he said.

Mr M. Sundaram Patrudu, Telugu Desam leader, admitted that it was a fact that the previous Government had made an attempt to exploit bauxite reserves. "The Government then was misled by the officials, but bowing to the wishes of the Girijans and other sections of the public, the TDP Government had given up the proposal. But the Congress Government now is not responsive to the public opinion. We will support the agitation of Girijans," he said.

Mr M.V.S Sarma, the member of the State secretariat of the CPI (M), said the livelihood of the five lakh Girijans in the agency area of Visakhapatnam district was at stake and the Government should immediately scrap the MoU.

Mr J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy, District Secretary of the CPI, and Mr B. Ranga Mohan, BJP leader, expressed support to the agitation.

Earlier, Prof. M. Jagannadha Rao, of the Geology Department of the Andhra University, explained the perils of bauxite mining and the processes involved to the audience

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