Tribal Welfare Minister P. Balaraju asserted on Sunday that he would not support any act that would harm the girijans when he was asked to clarify his stand on bauxite mining in Visakha Agency.

Bauxite mining was an issue that had to be decided by the Centre. The two Union Ministers – Jairam Ramesh and V. Kishore Chandra Deo – categorically announcing their opposition to the proposal at Chintapalli on Saturday had, in fact, cleared the doubts. This was the one development he wanted all these days, Mr. Balaraju said at a press conference.

He denied the allegation that he made bauxite mining as one of the issues on the agenda of the Tribal Advisory Committee meeting held in Hyderabad recently.

Establishment of multi-purpose Daily Requirements (DR) Depot in the Visakha Agency, for which Mr. Jairam Ramesh is making allocations from his MPLAD funds and formally inaugurated the buildings for the depots at Chintapalli with Mr. Deo, was started on a pilot project in the district and would be expanded to other areas, Mr. Balaraju said.

The multi-purpose DR depots would sell forest produce, potatoes, onions, soaps and other requirements along with PDS items like rice, kerosene and sugar. Farmers could also store their products. As many as 243 new depots were being planned. Mr. Jairam Ramesh released funds for construction of nearly 60 depots and promised to sanction funds for more depots.

Mr. Balaraju thanked the Union Minister for Rural Development for agreeing to provide two more ambulances for each of 11 mandals in the Visakha Agency. Staff and required funds for fuel and maintenance would be provided.

An exclusive super bazaar to sell forest produce was being planned in the city, he said. Meanwhile three outlets would be opened, Mr. Balaraju said.

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