Bauxite mining: CPI(M) accepts APMDC MD’s challenge for debate

Special Correspondent

VISAKHAPATNAM: The CPI(M) district committee on Tuesday criticised the statement of Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of AP Mineral Development Corporation V.D. Rajagopal that mining of bauxite in the Visakha Agency would not endanger environment and also accepted the official’s challenge to face him in a debate on this issue.

It may be recalled that Mr. Rajagopal during a national seminar conducted by Andhra University recently, criticised those opposing mining and threw a challenge to them to prove their stand right.

“CPI(M) accepts the challenge. We want the MD (of APMDC) to conduct a seminar for the purpose and invite all those opposing the bauxite mining. It is making its officials to make such statements as part of its policy and to go ahead with mining in spite of strong opposition from all sections,” CPI (M) district secretary Ch. Narasinga Rao said at a press conference here on Tuesday. He wanted the programme to be conducted in the tribal area or invite Girijans if it is held elsewhere.

CPI (M) had several times in the past explained the damage to be done to the environment due to mining and the alumina refinery and aluminium smelter plant but there was no response from the State Government. Water supply to Visakhapatnam, which has its source in the Agency hills, would be adversely affected. APMDC, which has no record of conducting mining operations, was taking up bauxite mining as the private companies cannot take up mining in tribal areas as per 1/70 Regulation. Mining was for the sake of private companies to make profit and the country would not benefit, he said. The CPI (M) leader refuted the claim of the Government that it had secured all required permissions for bauxite mining. The permissions received from the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment had been challenged by CPI (M) and Samata before the National Environment Appellate Authority. Submissions by the Government side had been completed and in the next adjournment scheduled to be held on August 10, CPI (M) and Samata would submit their arguments, he said.

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