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State comes under fire for `unilateral' bauxite pact

Published by MAC on 2005-09-05

State comes under fire for `unilateral' bauxite pact

Mining to adversely impact environment and livelihood of tribals

The Hindu

September 5 2005

Visakhapatnam, - CPI(M) (Communist Party of India-Marxist) to drum up support in Parliament against MoU with Jindal Group GSI survey reports about 500 to 600 million tonnes bauxite deposits in Easten Ghats - Loss of green cover and contamination of groundwater feared.

CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Member of Parliament Midiam Babu Rao receiving a representation from Girijan youth at a seminar conducted by Andhra Pradesh Girijan Sangham on anti-bauxite mining agitation in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

CPI(M) MP Midiam Babu Rao on Sunday found fault with the State Government for signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Jindal Group for setting up an alumina plant and refinery in the district without consulting tribals and their representatives.

Speaking at a seminar on bauxite mining organised by the Andhra Pradesh Girijan Sangham (APGS), he said he would oppose the deal in the Parliament and try to drum up support of other MPs against the permission granted to Jindal Group to establish the plant and refinery at a cost of Rs. 9,000 crores.

Dr. Babu Rao said bauxite mining would not only destroy the environment but also affect the livelihood practices being followed by tribals for several decades.

Bauxite mines in the Eastern Ghats are said to be spread over an area of 1,400 km.

An estimated 75,000 tribals live in these areas. According to a survey conducted by the Geological Survey of India in 1979, the district contains bauxite deposits to the tune of 500 to 600 million tonnes.

Along with Dr. Babu Rao, CPI MLA G. Demudu, Telugu Desam Party district unit president M. Sundaram Patrudu, BJP city president Bandaru Ranga Mohan, CPI (M) State executive member M.V.S. Sarma and others also alleged that the deal was signed in a hush-hush manner without taking the tribals into confidence.

Andhra University geology professor M. Jagannadha Rao said huge bauxite deposits were confirmed in Galikonda, Rathikonda, Anantagiri, Chintapalle and Guttedu areas.

He said the deal struck with Jindal was unilateral and wondered how one could sign an MoU without an environment impact assessment (EIA) study.

Due to open cast mining, the lush-green forests in the Eastern Ghats would be destroyed besides changing the course of hill streams. The groundwater would get contaminated due to mining with increasing fluoride content.

Mr. Demudu said there was no difference in the approach adopted by the Congress and the TDP in opening the floodgates to bauxite mining. Despite a specific request by the tribal MLAs to Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy not to allow any bauxite mining project, he went ahead with signing the agreement with Jindal Group, the MLA regretted.

Mr. Sarma, CPI district secretary J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy, Samata activist Srinivas, APGS leaders V. Tirupati Rao, Bhushana Rao, Laxman Rao and Appanna, spoke.

The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party representatives abstained at the all-party meeting convened by the APGS to discuss bauxite mining in the district on Sunday.

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