We’re not ready to give up peaceful life: tribals

Four-member AICC delegation promises support to movement against bauxite mining

Updated - November 24, 2015 05:45 am IST

Published - November 24, 2015 12:00 am IST - CHINTAPALLI (Visakhapatnam District):

“We are living in harmony with nature and without dependent on any support from government or any other agency, let our lives be,” say tribals from some of the habitations that would be affected by proposed bauxite mining.

Speaking during an interaction with a four-member committee sent by the All India Congress Committee to get a preliminary feedback from the ground, tribals vent their anguish at the State and Central governments taking a decision to take up mining of bauxite in the Visakha Agency area without taking into consideration opinions of the tribals..

The team led by former bureaucrat and present AICC SC Cell chairperson K Raju comprised former Union minister Bhakta Charan Das, former Speaker Nadendla Manohar and former MP from Nabarangpur in Odisha Pradeep Majhi held an interactive session with a large gathering of tribals here on Monday. The session was moderated by former Tribal Welfare Minister and DCC president P Balaraju.

“Ours is a self contained life with little dependence on the outside world, we have been living irrespective of getting or not getting any benefits from the government,” said Machala Lingamurthy, resident of Jhinjinthi village under Mondigedda Panchayat. “If the mining is taken up and we are shifted to the plains, we cannot live there,” he added.

“We regularly hear reports of suicides among farmers in the plains, there are no such reports from the hills we live in. We don’t want to shift,” he said opposing the proposal to take up bauxite mining.

“Each family has a small patch of land, if the bauxite mining is allowed dust would cover our fields and we would have to starve,” MPTC of Koyyuru Doni Babji said.

“No one has told us what benefits the tribals would get from bauxite mining,” he added. Further, we have heard from our relatives in East Godavari how they found it difficult to shift to the plains and everytime they had a problem they were offered money but not a sustainable livelihood. “Why should we give up a peaceful life on the hills for a life of discontent where we are not sure of where our next meal would come from,” he asked.

Bauxite mining would raze the hills which would affect the streams and water sources, this would not only affect life on the hills but dry up water sources for people downstream, a number of tribals said.

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