VISAKHAPATNAM: Amidst police security, the district administration Wednesday successfully conducted public hearing to elicit the opinion of the affected people of various tribal hamlets under Sarugudu panchayat in Nathavaram mandal of the district to lift the laterite mines.
Except for two villages out of 16, all the locals expressed their willingness to lift laterite reserves from their areas. With this, the hurdles and blocks for laterite mining in the district were cleared.
As many as 250 police personnel led by 20 sub-inspectors and six inspectors were deployed for the public hearing. The police ousted some protestors from Hasannagiri villagers, who under the aegis of CPM leaders staged a protest at the venue, and registered binding over cases against them.
DRO Nageswara Rao led the proceedings. While participating in the public hearing, the locals welcomed the mining as they would get roads, hospitals and other infrastructure in their villages, which were hitherto a distant dream. However, the villagers of Hasannagiri led by the activists of CPM, HRF and various NGOs protested against the project.
It may be noted here that the state government had granted permission to lift the laterite reserves in an extent of 121 hectares spread in various tribal villages of Sarugudu panchayat in Nathavaram mandal. While the tribals of several villages including Sundarakota, Pathasiripuram and Kothasiripuram supported it, the residents of Hasannagiri strongly objected.
“Since independence, we do not have road connectivity or a hospital. Once the mining begins, we will get roads, hospitals and drinking water. There are some people who are protesting, but it would be their loss,” the tribals said.