Staff Reporter

It cannot be run as a private company, says Konathala

Says the dairy properties were used as private estate till nowPart of turnover from bauxite mining to be earmarked for tribals200 tribal youth being trained in mining activity

VISAKHAPATNAM: Commercial Taxes Minister Konathala Ramakrishna has defended bringing the Visakha Dairy under the Co-operatives Act of 1964 stating it is done to prevent it from being run as a private company. Eight dairies have been brought under the Act by an ordinance superseding the governing bodies and appointing district Collectors as persons-incharge.

He was addressing a press conference with MLAs S. Ranga Raju, Kanna Babu, Gandi Babji, Congress nominee for Visakhapatnam-I byelection Dronamraju Srinivasa Rao, VUDA Chairman PSN Raju and AP Technology Services Chairman Koyya Prasada Reddy.

Mr. Ramakrishna alleged that exploiting certain loopholes in the Mutually Aided Co-operative Societies (MACS) Act, the Visakha Dairy was brought under the Producer Companies Act "in a dictatorial manner and to use the dairy properties as private estate."

The Government and many farmers had invested in the dairy and so it cannot be allowed to function as a private limited company," the Minister said.

Bauxite deposits

Mr. Ramakrishna said besides the Jindals, an Australian company was also evincing interest in exploiting the 700 million tonnes of bauxite deposits in the agency area of the district, the second largest in the world.

However, the public sector NALCO would be given priority in allotment of the deposits. Mining would be done through the AP Mineral Development Corporation to benefit tribals. Already 200 tribal youth have been sent for training in mining activity, he revealed. Earmarking a certain percentage of the turnover to tribal welfare was a part of the agreement.

Poll prospects

The Minister who campaigned for the party nominee Mr. Srinivasa Rao in the Visakhapatnam-I byelection exuded confidence about winning the election with a big margin. With the prospects for information technology (IT) improving, as many 20,000 professionals would get employment in the city in three years.

Other projects on the anvil were development of special economic zone, completion of first phase of Gangavaram port by 2008, setting up of garment city by a Sri Lanka company, atomic research station, naval expansion and exploiting the hydrocarbon deposits in the Krishna-Godavari basin.