The decision of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to take up bauxite mining under a special system by Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) four years after the Centre suspended all the clearances issued to extract the mineral from Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts has opened a Pandora’s Box.
There appears to be no clarity on the decision to reconsider mining in the scheduled areas of Eastern Ghats as the government has not made it clear on the status of agreements signed with Jindal South West Aluminium Limited and Anrak Aluminium Limited. Both companies were promised supply of bauxite ore by the AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC).
Post-bifurcation, the corporation will be divided into two.
Investments worth over Rs.25,000 crore, including Rs.9,000 crore proposed by State-owned NALCO, were put on hold in August 2010 on the plea of the then Araku MP, V. Kishore Chandra Deo. Mr. Deo, who a year later became Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, had also wrote a letter to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan to cancel the MoU signed with Jindal and Anrak as mining would destroy the fragile ecosystem .
“Mining by ITDA with an IAS officer at the helm of affairs will also be an infringement on tribal rights,” Mr. Deo told The Hindu .
Opposing the fresh move, anti-mining activist and Samata founder Rebbapragda Ravi says: “Our stand is very clear. Only after the consent from each village under PESA (Panchayat Extension in Scheduled Areas) Act, it should be allowed.”