Asserting that the Telangana government is against uranium mining in Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR), Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday said that an appropriate resolution would be passed in the Assembly and Council, expressing the opinions of both houses.
He said the proposed exploration may contaminate river Krishna on which Hyderabad depends for drinking water and clarified that the state government had never accorded permission for uranium mining post June 2014 (four months after the new state came into being).
“We have no intention of allowing uranium mining... We will not allow Nallmala forests (where the tiger reserve is) to be destroyed. It will contaminate Krishna river from which we get drinking water. It will impact our capital city Hyderabad. So at any cost we will not allow uranium mining. This is our firm decision. I request the people of state not to worry about it.”
Mr. Rao said that even if the centre insisted on going ahead with the exploration, the state would fight it unitedly.
He said the government was in sync with the proposal of Congress member Bhatti Vikramarka to introduce a resolution, get it passed unanimously and then send it to the Union government.
Echoing similar views, Minister for IT and Industries KT Rama Rao said in the legislative council that the government would not grant permission for uranium mining in forest areas, even if the exploration being carried out by the Atomic Minerals Directorate in ATR yielded positive results.
He informed a member that the AMD has so far not taken up any exploration in any forest areas falling in Nalgonda and Nagarkurnool districts.
“The (State) government has taken a clear stand that no mining will be allowed at any cost in forest areas even if uranium deposits are found during exploration,” Rama Rao said.
Earlier in May this year, the AMD was given in-principle approval by the Forest Advisory Committee under the Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change to conduct the survey for the radioactive mineral in Amrabad, one of the largest tiger reserves in the country.
The Congress has said it would intensify its opposition to the project and launch a movement in association with other like-minded parties and outfits.
The AMD sought to drill 4,000 boreholes in the Tiger Reserve as part of survey for uranium deposits.
The AMD under Department of Atomic Energy carried out survey and investigation for exploration of uranium during 1992-2012 period in some parts of Nalgonda and estimated that 18,550 tonnes of uranium deposits are available there.
Rama Rao said AMD does not require any permission for survey and investigation for uranium exploration in revenue lands. However, it needs Forest Department clearance for forest lands for exploration.
The Minister pointed out that the state wildlife board had in 2016 recommended for permission to MoEF with a clear condition that even if the presence of uranium was confirmed, mining could not be allowed at any cost.
He said uranium mining can have an adverse impact on environment as was seen in other parts of the country.