Meeting held in-camera for the first time
Cancellation of public hearing on bauxite mining sought
Limited space in the meeting hall, says Kanna
VISAKHAPATNAM: CPI (M) MP Midiam Babu Rao of Bhadrachalam and Telugu Desam MLAs Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu and Chengala Venkata Rao walked out of the District Review Committee (DRC) meeting held at the Zilla Praja Parishad hall here on Tuesday over the Coastal Corridor and bauxite mining issues.
The meeting was held in-camera for the first time and the CPI (M) and TDP leaders criticised Ministers Kanna Lakshminarayana and Konathala Ramakrishna for holding it in that way and called it an undemocratic method.
The DRC would discuss issues concerning all sections of people in the entire district but unfortunately the Ministers decided to hold it in-camera, the three leaders said while talking to reporters outside the meeting hall. They had also raised the issue during the meeting but failed to get a satisfactory reply from the Ministers and officials, they said.
Dr. Babu Rao said that during the meeting, he wanted the DRC to cancel the environmental public hearing on bauxite mining in the Visakha Agency held at Chintapalli on Oct. 3 as it turned out to be big farce after the Girijans had totally boycotted the exercise and that GOs 34 and 373 should be withdrawn as the Chief Minster himself had declared that only a coastal road would be laid as part of the Coastal Corridor project and no land would be acquired. The resolutions should be made considering the damage the two projects would do to Girijans and fishermen.
Both resolutions were supported by Mr. Ayyanna Patrudu and Mr. Venkata Rao.
But Minister for Transport and District Minister in-charge Kanna Lakshminarayana rejected their plea and all the three had walked out in protest.
Later Mr. Lakshminarayana along with Minister for Commercial Taxes Konathala Ramakrishna held a press briefing and tried to explain why the press was barred from covering the meeting even as some reporters expressed their dissatisfaction. That the meeting would be in-camera was informed to the press corps only in the morning and the photographers and cameramen of news channels were allowed briefly to take photographers and footage.
Mr. Lakshminarayana tried to explain saying that the space was limited in the meeting hall and there were many electronic media cameramen.
“We wanted only the print media to be present but later felt that the electronic media might feel discriminated,” he said.
This was not happening in all districts, there were some problems in some districts and so some restrictions were being imposed, he said adding that the Government would not like to restrict press. Mr. Ramakrishna said the problem cropped up due to a communication gap.