It will examine and conduct an on-the-spot study

There is more confusion regarding the bauxite mining proposals in Visakha Agency as the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Committee on Petitions is visiting the area on April 8 and 9.

With the State government not giving a clear assurance to the Girijan people and environmental activists that bauxite mining will not take place in some areas in Araku Valley and Chintapalli mandals, visit of Legislative Committee is certain to increase their concern, even if the committee is making the visit in response to the petitions submitted to it in the past.

The press release says the committee, headed by the Deputy Speaker, will examine and conduct an on-the-spot study of bauxite mining and alumina refinery and smelter projects of the Jindal South West Holding and Anrak Mineral (in Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts respectively).

The Girijan people are fighting against bauxite mining and it is also an important issue for the CPI (Maoist) which has strong pockets in the Visakha Agency.

A public hearing held at Chintapalli a few years ago was totally boycotted by the locals and a strong and violent reaction from the Girijan people might result if the government decides to go ahead with mining of bauxite.

Government’s stand on bauxite mining worries the Girijan people. In a recent public meeting at G.K. Veedhi, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was non-committal and said the government would not take any action that violated the law. He made this statement after Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said no where in the country Girijan people were in favour of mining to take place in their areas. Union Minister for Tribal Welfare V. Kishore Chandra Deo, under whose Lok Sabha constituency falls the mining area, made himself very clear against mining and wanted the State government to withdraw the mining leases (given to AP Mineral Development Corporation to take up mining and supply bauxite to Anrak and Jindal refineries).

The J.C. Kala Committee visited the Visakha Agency twice, during October and December 2011 but there is no action on its report.

The visit itself was strongly resented and the committee could make only aerial visit in October as the Agency observed a two-day bandh in protest against the visit.

Girijan people are apprehensive that the Assembly Committee’s visit might be part of government’s plan to get a green signal for bauxite mining, since the Chief Minister was being non-committal.

The Committee will reach here from Hyderabad on the evening of April 7 and visit proposed mining areas in and around Araku during the afternoon of April 8. It will visit the proposed mining areas near Chintapalli, Jerrela and Kondapalli on the morning of April 9 before leaving for Hyderabad late in the evening.

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