KADAPA/VIJAYAWADA: The 11-member expert committee constituted by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) on the directions of the State government to study the impact of Uranium Corporation of India Limited’s uranium mines at Tummalapalle, Velpula, Medipentla and Kottala villages of Vemula Mandal in Kadapa district, commenced its work on Monday. It is likely to submit its report to the APPCB on September 11.
Dr EVVSSK Babu, senior principal scientist of NGRI Hyderabad, said they inspected the mines and processing plant on the first day. On the second day, they will visit the ‘affected’ villages and interact with people and receive their complaints.
Meanwhile, several farmers and people from the villages led by Human Rights Forum (HRF) leader K Jayasri questioned the expert committee members for hearing the presentations and explanations by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) officials instead of listening to the complaints first.
Expert committee members said they will spend the entire day (Tuesday) with people of the ‘affected’ villages to understand their problems, so that they can submit a comprehensive report to the government on time. There was elaborate security at the mines in view of the presence of a large number of people at the place to lodge their complaints with the expert committee.
On the other hand, Dr K Babu Rao, retired chief scientist of Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and a social activist, who wrote several letters to the APPCB pointing out “non-implementation” of safety norms in construction of tailings ponds of uranium processing plant in Kadapa, questioned the absence of geotechnical engineering experts in the team of experts.
“The time it was given to submit the report is also too short,” he told TNIE and wondered as to how the experts are going to come to a conclusion on the most eco-sensitive issue in such a short time. For long, Babu Rao has been saying that UCIL is not following the safety norms when it comes to disposal of harmful waste from the uranium processing plant.