CPI(M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu said already 29 licences had been given for mining in nearly 4,000 acres.

CPI(M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu has asserted that the anti-mining movement in the tribal areas of Visakhapatnam district will continue until such time all leases are cancelled.

Addressing a meeting, a culmination of an eight-day anti-mining campaign by the CPI(M) in the 11 mandals of the tribal areas, here on Friday, Mr. Raghavulu said already 29 licences had been given for mining in nearly 4,000 acres. Accusing the government of giving scope for illegal mining, he said 120 applications for mining in 1.1 lakh acres were pending with the government.

‘Destructive mining'

‘Destructive mining' would not only ruin the ecology in the Girijan areas but would also devastate the plain areas, he said. It was estimated that mining in one acre would get Rs. 2 crore of revenue and in 1.1 lakh acres it would get Rs. 2.5 lakh crore.

“But why should Girijans sacrifice their land and ecology for mining, when they are not getting health, colleges or bridges they need and the money on mining was spent elsewhere?” he asked.

The government was not even spending the tribal sub-plan amount of 7 per cent of the budget in tribal areas. The leaders of Congress, TDP, and YSR Congress should declare whether they were with Girijans or hand in glove with those taking up mining.

He charged the Congress government with overcoming the Panchayat approval for mining in violation of the Panchyatraj Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act and putting it in the hands of mandal and zilla parishads. The mandal parishads should pass a resolution opposing destructive mining.

Describing the tribal movement that led to putting off public hearing on china clay at Sarai in Kandrika mandal as significant,

Mr. Raghavulu said Girijans were ready to lay down their lives for protecting their lands from mining.

If the government wanted to take up mining in areas that would not disturb ecology, it should come out with an alternative mining policy for spending money from it in Girijan areas, set up industries using the raw material within the State and provide employment to local youth.

Former MP Midiam Babu Rao, CPI(M ) district secretary Ch. Narsinga Rao Araku Valley ZPTC Killo Surendra, K. Santi of GK Veedhi, and Makireddy Ramana of Samata, a voluntary organisation, spoke.