MAC: Mines and Communities

Bauxite mining will affect tribals badly

Published by MAC on 2005-11-03

Bauxite mining will affect tribals badly

Human Rights Forum, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

November 03, 2005

Mining of bauxite in the tribal tracts of this district will seriously affect the livelihood of the adivasis, apart from negatively impacting the water security in the hills as well as the plains, according to the Human Rights Forum (HRF).

A team comprising HRF General Secretary K Balagopal and Secretary V S Krishna toured the mandals of G K Veedhi, Araku and Anantagiri for two days recently and spoke to people of nine villages spread over six panchayats.

These habitations were located in the vicinity of the Sapparla, Chittamgondi, Galikonda and Rakthakonda groups from where bauxite was proposed to be mined by the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this July between the Andhra Pradesh government and the Jindal South West Holding Ltd, a part of the Jindal Group.

The HRF functionaries alleged that the APMDC was acting like a 'benami' of the Jindal group in order to circumvent protective legislation for tribals and this was against the Supreme Court judgment which had laid down that lands in Scheduled areas cannot be transferred to non-tribals.

Mr Balgopal and Mr Krishna pointed out that mining for bauxite would also lead to displacement of adivasi communities like Khond, Nooka Dora, Bagata and Manne Dora. Some of them would be suffering multiple displacements as they had moved into the hills of the Visakha Agency due to projects in the erstwhile Koraput district of Orissa. They would again be forced to abandon a habitat that gave them land for farming, adequate water and forest for sustenance.

They termed as eyewash the government's assurance of 10,000 jobs for adivasis in the event of mining. ''The open-cast mining is a highly mechanised process and not labour-intensive. The few jobs that would be available will require skilled personnel and adivasis will lose out. The record of the government on such assurances in the past has also been appalling,''they added.

The HRF urged the government to immediately cancel the MoU and instead intervene effectively in providing healthcare, educational facilities and farm inputs to the tribals.

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