‘Hearing will not be allowed’

People from the villages under the Sarugudu Panchayat who will be affected by the laterite mining being proposed at Bhamidika Loddi asserted that mining would not be allowed and the public hearing scheduled to be held at Erakannapalem on November 17 would not to take place.

The politicians, mining mafia and the officials were criticised for granting NOCs to 63 applicants for proposed laterite mining, not bothering about the fate of Girijans, and violating all acts and laws that protect Girijans and their lands. The public hearing is on the project proposed by Jartha Lakshmana Rao, who the Girijans said was not a Girijan. At a meeting held here on Friday Girijans said they would chase away anyone connected with laterite mining from their area.

They also reminded how china clay mining was stalled and people's representatives were chased away and bauxite mining was yet to take place. President of local Panchayat was criticised for accepting construction of a road in the interior area by the project proponent, which was useful only for transport of laterite.

The meeting was organised by the CPI(M), Girimitra and Janachaitanya organisations.

Honorary president of State Girijana Sangham D. Venkanna presided.

Koda Chandra Rao of K. Daddugula village said that the mining mafia was trying to entice villagers with temporary benefits.

A young farmer from Asnagiri village Nookaraju said his family was earning Rs. 1.5 lakh a year from the cashew garden and it was not ready to lose the same.

Sirike Malleswara Rao of Siripuram asserted that Girijans would not leave their hills and forest and would fight till the end if necessary. Former MPTC P. Srinivas said mistakes might have been committed in the past but all should be alert from now on. Former MP M. Babu Rao said all Girijans must be united. District secretariat member M. Suryanarayana, Makireddy Ramana of Samata,former MPTC B. Ganga Raju, women's group leader M. Umavathi were among those who spoke.

‘Revoke licence'

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) has strongly urged the government to immediately revoke the lease granted to J. Lakshmana Rao. In a statement here on Friday, HRF State general secretary V.S. Krishna has demanded that the public hearing for the proposed project slated for November 17 at Erakannapalem village be cancelled forthwith as not doing so would amount to a mockery of the environmental clearance regime.

A four-member HRF team visited six villages in Sarugudu panchayat and spoke with local residents who are all adivasis belonging mostly to the Bagata and Konda Dora communities.

Keywords: laterite mining