The environment impact assessment (EIA) report prepared by a consultancy on a proposal for laterite mining at Bhamidika village under Sarugudu Panchayat in Nathavaram mandal for the project proponent J. Lakshmana Rao was a copy-paste affair and contained details which are irrelevant to the project while missing details of the Terms of Reference issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
This is what the NGO Samata has pointed out and a former Union Secretary E.A.S. Sarma has complained to the Special Secretary to the Union Ministry.
The mining proposal itself is illegal as it violated many Acts and laws regarding Girijans and Scheduled Areas and the public hearing scheduled to be held on November 17 must be cancelled, they demanded.
The SV Enviro Labs, which prepared the EIA report lifted some paragraphs from the EIA reports prepared for other projects in the past and inserted them in the report for the project at Bhamidika, they alleged. Executive director of Samata Rebbapragada Ravi said there were references to paint and fertilizer manufacturing units in the proposal for laterite mining, it was noticed. The ‘copy and paste job' was done mostly from an EIA report for the Raksha Cements (Assam) and in some instances from reports on other laterite mining projects.
It mentioned (lifted from another EIA report) “No unforeseen problems will be faced by the crop ecosystem due to the proposed plant” even as it said that there was no vegetation to be impacted in the area. It did not give reasons why R and R policy need not be implemented for the project. The report also denied existence of forests in the project area, presence of mouse deer, a Schedule I endangered species, and the fact that many Girijans live in the area, said Mr. Ravi whose organisation is operating alternate learning centres in the area since 1987.
Many acts and laws will be violated if the project is approved. The Land Transfer Regulation (Sec. 3 of LTR 1 of 1970); Supreme Court's Samata judgement; Sec. 11(5) of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, or the Mining Act; the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act; the Forest Rights Act 2006 and the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 would be violated and the Terms of Reference (TOR's) given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests were not followed in the EIA report.
Mr. Sarma regretted that the district Collector who is the Agent of the Government under the Land Transfer Regulation of the Fifth Schedule and required to protect the interests of the Girijans has failed in his statutory obligations by issuing the notification for the public hearing.
He wanted the consultant de-listed for preparing a report full of fallacies, being incomplete and a copy-and-paste job; and the AP Pollution Control Board to be taken for task for accepting such reports in a casual manner. The Chief Secretary should initiate action against the mining and the revenue departments who were directly responsible for allowing public hearings to be held even as they violate all laws, Mr. Sarma said.