Andhra Pradesh

Girijans oppose proposed laterite mining

People of Asanagiri and other girijan villages are strongly opposing mining of laterite in their area since it will deny them their livelihood and wipe out the caves in the Gangalamma Konda. The caves are considered ancient and house the Gangalamma Thalli and Jagaramma Devatha temples.

The Human Rights Forum said that constitutional rights of people will be violated and environment affected if mining takes place and demanded the Government to revoke the lease right granted.

The HRF wanted the Collector to cancel the public hearing scheduled to be held at Sundarakota village on February 19. After leading a fact-finding committee to the area and speaking to the local people on Saturday, secretary of HRF V.S. Krishna told The Hindu on Sunday that proposed mining would violate many laws and Acts and harm the local girijans and environment.

The proposed area was notified under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, and the reserve forest but the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report did not mention these important aspects.

"In fact, the EIA report put out by the project proponent report is a sham. Assessments trotted out in the EIA report are highly dubious, riddled with a number of inconsistencies and misrepresentations. For instance it is stated in the report that there is no forest in the proposed mine lease area. This is a brazen falsehood. The whole stretch from Sundarakota village in the east to K. Doddugula and Asanagiri through to Bhamidika to the south and Rajavommangi to the west in East Godavari district is abundantly green with dense forest," Mr. Krishna said.

"Besides, there are many perennial streams in the area. The claim that the proposed project’s impact on ecology will be insignificant is absolutely untenable. It entails unacceptable environmental and human livelihood costs in a highly sensitive eco-system," Mr Krishna said.

The Forest Conservation Act, the Panchayat Raj Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act and the Forest Rights Act, 2006 will be violated if mining is allowed.

Suspecting that a powerful laterite mining lobby consisting of non-tribal benamis is operating in open contempt of the law with active assistance from officials and politicians, from Sankavaram mandal of East Godavari district to Nathavaram mandal in Visakhapatnam, HRF demanded the Government to put on hold all the mining proposals and initiate a detailed inquiry.

Blatant violation

On January 17, the APPCB issued a notification that the public hearing would be held on February 19 either at Asanagiri or Sundarakota which are 3.5 km apart. There is also a hill in between the two places. When Asanagiri villagers brought this ambiguity about the place of public hearing to the notice of APPCB on February 7, the board issued a fresh notification on February 8 stating that the public hearing would be held at Sundarakota on February 19.

But when a fresh notification is issued the present public hearing is negated and one month's time must be given to conduct the public hearing from the date the fresh notification is issued, said secretary of HRF V.S. Krishna. If it is not done so, it is against the rules under which public hearing is held, he added.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 8:31:01 PM |

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