Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy evaded giving an assurance on the State Government banning bauxite mining in the Scheduled Areas while two Union Ministers Jairam Ramesh and Kishore Chandra Deo urged the State Government to cancel the MoU entered into on the subject as they were in violation of the Constitution and laws of the State.

Addressing tribals from the region at the Giri Pragati Sadassu organised by the State Government here, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo explained that the MoU on bauxite mining violated the provisions of the Constitution which clearly disallowed non-tribals from taking up any activity in Scheduled Areas.

Further, the 1 of 70 Act also prohibited transfer of property to non-tribals. The Union Government at a meeting called by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue had also accepted the error in allowing mining by non-tribals and had called upon Mines Ministry to cancel the permit for mining bauxite in Paderu Agency area, he added.

Saying the decision was pending with the State government, he called on the CM to take steps to cancel the MoU which violated the provisions of law of the land.

Wherever mining has been allowed tribals have only lost and only a few outsiders have gained. In fact mining has only helped strengthen the Maoists, Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh declared. Urging the Chief Minister to have the State Government impose a 20-year moratorium on mining in Scheduled Areas he called upon the Government to take steps to empower tribals.

He asked the Government to concentrate on improving the health, sanitation and education of the tribals and resolve the land disputes in the Agency areas. He urged the government to promote horticulture, housing and improve connectivity.

In response, the CM evaded giving a clear statement on banning bauxite mining in the Agency and only asserted that the government would not do anything that violated the Constitution.

Earlier he participated in launching a number of welfare schemes for the tribals in the region. Minister of Tribal Welfare P Balaraju, Minister for Panchayati Raj Jana Reddy, Minister for Forests Shatrucharla Vijayarama Raju, Minister for Roads and Buildings Dharmana Prasada Rao and Minister for Infrastructure, Investments and Ports Ganta Srinivasa Rao, MLAs a number of party leaders and officials were also present.