The Andhra Pradesh Government has launched an exercise to review a stand on the contentious bauxite mining issue.
The MoU signed by the AP Mineral Development Corporation during 2005-07 have been put under abeyance by the UPA-II Government in August 2010 following strong objections raised by then Araku MP V. Kishore Chandra Deo and others against mining in Scheduled Areas in contravention of Constitution. After his induction as Union Minister for Tribal Affairs a year later, he had asked the State to scrap the agreements.
Post-bifurcation, on assuming charge as Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu is treading cautiously to undertake bauxite mining by taking the stakeholders into consideration.
When contacted, Minister for Panchayat Raj Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu told The Hindu on Monday that they want to review the decision in the larger interest of the State. “The Chief Minister is against allowing mining by private companies. We are exploring various options.”
On whether public sector National Aluminium Company (NALCO) would be allowed mining in the Agency tracts, he said they would look into it. “One thing is clear. Mr. Naidu is totally against mining by involving private sector,” he said.
Jindal South West Aluminium Ltd. belonging to Jindal Group and Anrak Aluminium Ltd, a consortium formed by Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority and Penna Group envisage an investment of over Rs.20,000 crore on aluminium complexes in Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts. Anrak has almost completed construction of 1.5 million tonne refinery at Rachapalle near Makavarapalem, about 100 km. from Visakhapatnam.
There is no clarity on whether MoU signed during the Congress regime would be scrapped or not.
NALCO which has mining leases and aluminium complex in Odisha, had also proposed an investment of Rs.9,000 crore in setting up alumina refinery and smelter near Visakhapatnam during the UPA regime.
Green activists are strongly opposed to bauxite mining in Schedule V areas stating that it would adversely affect livelihood of tribal people and destroy fragile ecosystem of Eastern Ghats.