The Communist Party of India has demanded that the government scrap its orders granting reconnaissance permit to DeBeers India Limited, the Indian arm of the multinational DeBeers, for prospecting gold, diamonds and precious stones in Nallamala forest area.

The CPI threatened to obstruct prospecting works like digging borewells for sample collection by the De Beers if the government did not scrap the permits issued at the expense of the tribal habitat in the notified area.

The CPI exhorted tribes in Nallamala to resist any attempts by the company to take up prospecting works and said the party would launch direct action through “save Nallamala” campaign involving all political parties and voluntary bodies.

At a press conference here on Saturday, CPI State secretary K. Narayana criticised the government for toeing the line of multinationals endangering lives of the forest dwellers. The administration had turned into land grabber in forcibly acquiring forest lands claiming them to be “assigned” causing concern among Chenchus and other tribes.

Collusion alleged

He alleged that the Central government had colluded with the State in clearing the permits to damage the ecological balance.

Operation Green Hunt, he said, was launched on the pretext of eliminating Maoists, but the real intentions of vacating tribes from their natural habitat and handing over land to multinational companies was exposed by the permits granted to them. “The entire deal has the blessings of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” he said.

Dr. Narayana launched a trenchant attack on Chief Minister K. Rosaiah claiming he was running a “toothless, powerless and inefficient administration”. “Mr. Rosaiah who is not sure how long he will continue in the post, should not harm the interests of tribes,” he said.