Opposition to bauxite mining mountsPublished by MAC on 2007-06-29
Opposition to bauxite mining mounts
Special Correspondent, http://www.hindu. com/2007/ 06/29/stories/ 2007062958440300 .htm
29th June 2007
State Government criticised for 'disregarding' the feelings of stakeholders, including Girijans
VISAKHAPATNAM: Barring the Congress, the strong resolve of the political parties, environmental groups and people's organisations against exploitation of bauxite in the agency area and setting up of alumina smelter plants was once again exhibited at a seminar conducted here on Thursday.
The Bauxite Vyatireka, Nadee Jalaala Parirakshana Udyama Committee (an anti-bauxite and river water protection struggle committee) conducted the seminar and the participants took strong exception to the Government's action to force bauxite mining and refineries on the people even though the Girijans, farmers and people of plain areas had vehemently expressed their opposition due to the adverse affects of the two on the environment, life style of Girijans, depletion of water sources, etc.
They were particularly sore that the Government was not in a mood to understand the people's feeling in spite of 97 per cent of the participants at a public hearing on Jindal company's proposed alumina refinery in S. Kota Mandal saying an emphatic "no".
After the committee convener and Chodavaram MLA of Telugu Desam Ganta Srinivasa Rao made an introductory speech in which he criticised the Government and its double talk on the issue and asserted that the agitation would continue till the Government dropped its plans, executive director of Samata organisation Ravi Rebbapragada and a senior journalist and convener of Mines, Minerals and People organisation at New Delhi R. Sridhar gave power point presentations on the damage the bauxite mining and alumina refineries would cause. Mr. Ravi explained how the rivers in north coastal Andhra would dry up due to mining in the Visakha agency area and also in the Orissa area, where already an agitation was on for the last 10 years.
Dr. Sridhar said the corporates would only benefit due to mining and refineries while people would suffer extensively.
He explained how much water was needed for mining and for running the refineries while people were not supplied sufficient water even now. President of Lok Satta Abiyan from Orissa, Prafulla Samantray who is actively involved in the agitations in his State, wanted the Government to protect resources to protect people and also maintain ecological balance. The Governments would get very little benefit from the bauxite mining, he said.
Leader of TDP Parliamentary Party K. Yerran Naidu said the Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was violating the Constitution and Acts and behaving in an undemocratic manner by brushing aside the people's opinion. As the Minister for Rural Development in the past, it was he who included Scheduled Areas in the amended Panchayati Raj Act which stated that what was decided by Gram Sabhas could not be ignored, Mr. Yerran Naidu said. North Andhra people would not keep quite in the face of great danger facing them and the TDP would raise the bauxite mining and refineries issue in the Parliament, he said. State secretary of Human Rights Forum V.S. Krishna pointed out that the Girijans and farmers were now asking the Government to define development, which was a good development. He wanted the agitation to be made strong at the ground level.
MLA of Chintapalli G. Demudu of CPI listed several violations made by the Government and asserted that the Girijans would not allow bauxite mining. Yellavaram MLA from East Godavari Babu Ramesh wanted greater awareness about the ill effects of mining and refineries be created among the people.
Secretary of Vizag Journalists Forum M. Yugandhar Reddy said the Government was harassing people in the name of development. TDP district president and former Minister Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy and others were present.