Andhra Pradesh

‘Waterman’ seeks cancellation of illegal mining leases in State

Environmentalist Rajendra Singh interacting with villagers, affected by mining in the catchment area of Kalyanapulova dam in Visakhapatnam district, on Sunday.

Environmentalist Rajendra Singh interacting with villagers, affected by mining in the catchment area of Kalyanapulova dam in Visakhapatnam district, on Sunday.  

Rajendra Singh expresses solidarity with ‘save Kalyanapulova stir’

Well-known environmentalist Rajendra Singh, popularly known as ‘Waterman of India’, has found fault with the State government for giving permission for mining in the catchment area of a dam, which was catering to more than 10,000 people.

Dr. Singh, along with Jal Biradari national convener Bolisetty Satyanarayana, Stanley George of Good Earth, Bengaluru, national convener of National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements Ramakrishnaraju, national secretary of All India Agriculture and Rural Workers’ Union P.S. Ajay Kumar and others visited the Kalyanapulova dam in Ravikamatam mandal in the district as part of the three-day ‘Uttarandhra tanks, reservoirs, water bodies: rejuvenation yatra’ on Sunday.

He also visited the Kalyanapulova dam-affected catchment area mining villages and expressed solidarity with the ‘Save Kalyanapulova movement’. He expressed his anguish over the way the reservoir was being destroyed by illegal mining.

The local people apprised him of the problems they are facing due to illegal and indiscriminate mining.

Ajay Kumar, who is leading the movement by Adivasis and farmers, who have been fighting for their rights, explained that Kalyanuplova, a medium-sized irrigation dam, built 40 years ago was providing livelihood to 5,000 families of farmers and 200 fishermen families. The dam, having a catchment area of 25 sq. km., was generating huge wealth to the region.

The area has an average rainfall of 1,200 mm but after mining activity in the catchment areas, the flows into the dam were disturbed. Being an earthen dam with poor rivetment, there was a chance of the dam causing havoc, in case of a cloudburst, he said.

Dr. Singh noted that illegal mining was destroying the reservoir embankment. Indiscriminate blasting on the hills on either side of the reservoir was causing adverse impact on the embankment. The embankment riveting was already partially destroyed and, if, mining went unabated there was a risk of disaster. “Mining companies are already operating heavy trucks, carrying tons of loads and it is shocking to see how the State government is allowing such operations on the sensitive embankment. Mining operations generate tons of debris and allowing mining operations in the sensitive reserve forest ecosystem will destroy the area. One mining company has already blocked the perennial stream that feeds the dam.”

Plea to CM

He appealed to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to cancel the illegal mining leases immediately and save the dam. He also requested him to identify and demarcate the catchment areas of all water bodies like dams, tanks and reservoirs and issue a fresh G.O. notifying them as ‘no-construction’ zones and thereby provide water security to the people of Andhra Pradesh.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:03:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/waterman-seeks-cancellation-of-mining-leases-in-state/article28236502.ece

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