Srikakulam Collector asked to set up a special committee

Lok Ayukta of Andhra Pradesh Justice B. Subhashan Reddy has directed Srikakulam District Collector Saurabh Gaur to set up a special committee to survey the Kannedhara hillock on which granite mining lease was granted to D. Rammanohar Naidu, son of Minister for Roads & Buildings Dharmana Prasada Rao.

Mr. Saurabh Gaur, a few other district officials, including the Assistant Director of Mines & Geology and representatives of tribal communities living in that area appeared before the Lok Ayukta here on Tuesday. The Lok Ayukta had taken up the case for hearing in January this year.

The Collector submitted a report on the controversial mining lease issue to the institution on January 7 and the matter was posted to April 23 directing the petitioners, tribal communities, to file counter citing their objections to the mining lease.

Accordingly, the tribal communities submitted a 126-page counter to the Lok Ayukta contending that mining activity would play havoc with their lives. Based on their objections, the Lok Ayukta directed the Srikakulam Collector to get the land on Kannedhara hillock surveyed by setting up a special committee and prepare maps of the land with sub-divisions and submit it to the institution by August 26.

The tribal communities alleged that they were displaced due to allotment of lands for the purpose of mining white granite to Mr. Rammanohar Naidu in 2010. Virgin Rock Private Ltd headed by Mr. Naidu was granted granite mining lease in Survey No. 289 on Kannedhara hillock of Puliputti village in Seethampeta mandal.

The petitioners also complained that biodiversity of the area, especially diverse medicinal herbs would be affected.

Moreover, the hillocks along with Kannedhara were feeding about 14 irrigation tanks under which over 2,000 acres of land was being irrigated.