VISAKHAPATNAM: The tribals of Agency areas in the district have launched a massive protest against the Telugu Desam government’s decision on the bauxite reserves. Thousands of tribals from various villages in GK Veedhi mandal, including Darakonda, Duppilavada and Gummarevula, took out rallies against chief minister N Chandrbabu Naidu’s announcement to lift the bauxite reserves. The tribals also observed a day-long bandh in the villages.
The Maoists, who are eagerly waiting for a chance to win the confidence of the tribals, have announced that they would support any agitation against bauxite mining.
Interestingly, tribals in the GK Veedhi mandal said that they welcome the support of any organisation including the Maoist part to their agitation against bauxite mining.
The tribals raised slogans against the government’s decision and warned that they would never allow any mining activity to lift the bauxite reserves.
They pointed out that participating in the International Tribal Day celebrations, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced an anti-tribal and anti-environmental activity.
The tribals also pointed out that there was no difference between the Congress and the TDP government which were trying to kill the green environment in the Eastern Ghats and causing harm to lakhs of tribal lives.
During his recent two-day visit to the district, the CM announced that the bauxite reserves would be lifted by involving the tribals in the project. In fact, during Chandrababu Naidu’s tenure between 1995 and 2004, the bauxite mining proposals were raised but were severely opposed by all political parties, NGOs and several other national-level environmentalists.
The Congress government, led by late YS Rajasekhara Reddy in 2007, signed an MoU with two companies - AnRak and Jindal.
The government, while entering into an MoU, assured the two major players - Jindal South West Aluminium Limited and Anrak Aluminium Limited - that bauxite will be supplied through AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC).
“The government has not consulted the Public Sector Unit NALCO which has shown much interest in setting up alumina refineries. According to the MoUs signed with AnRak and Jindal, neither the government nor the local tribal community stand to gain from the deal. It is true that both the companies will loot bauxite and leave the much-polluted mud here,” a senior IAS officer said, and wondered why the state government was not consulting NALCO and why it was inviting private companies.
Protesting against the CM’s announcement, the Left parties and NGOs have already warned that they would launch a massive agitation against bauxite mining. In the past two days, a large number of tribals, led by local leaders, staged dharnas and took out rallies.
“When the TDP was in the opposition earlier, it had assured us that it would support the agitation against former chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s action against bauxite mining. After coming to power, Naidu is eyeing the bauxite mines. We are thankful to former Union minister Kishore Chandra Deo who had educated us on the issue. The agreements with AnRak and Jindal companies are illegal. We shall go ahead with our agitation come what may,” some sarpanches in GK Veedhi mandal warned.