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State government abolishes bauxite mining in Vizag Agency

Leases were issued by earlier govts in 1,521.978 hectares of land at six locations in Agency to APMDCL for 30 years 

Published: 27th September 2019 03:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2019 03:50 AM   |  A+A-

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For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: The State government has cancelled the bauxite mining leases granted in over 1,521.978 hectares of land at six different locations in Visakhapatnam Agency to the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation Limited (APMDCL) for a period of 30 years. The Government Orders revoking the mining leases were issued on Thursday.

The mining leases were issued in two different spells to the APMDCL for supplying bauxite to two companies — Jindal South West Holdings Limited (JSWHL) and  ANRAK Aluminum Limited (AAL),  a joint venture by  the Government of Ras-al-Khaimah (RAKIA) and Penna Group of Industries for establishing alumina plant and smelter in the State.

On November 5, 2015, the State government issued GO Ms. No 97 diverting 1,212 hectares of forest land for mining. ANRAK established an alumina refinery and a power plant at Rachapally in Makavaripalem of Visakhapatnam district with an estimated investment of Rs 4,500 crore approximately.

On July 7, 2005, the State government signed an MoU with JSWHL to supply bauxite for establishing alumina plant and smelter. Accordingly, three mining leases for bauxite, in Visakhapatnam district, were granted in favour of the APMDCL on January 1, 2008. At Rathakonda in Ananthagiri Reserve Forest, 113.192 hectares, including 59.525 revenue lands, and 152 hectares in Chittamgondi Reserve Forest in Araku mandal and 93.886 hectares in Galikonda Village Reserve Forest of Ananthagiri mandal were allocated.

On February 14, 2007, the government entered into an MoU with the Government of Ras-al-Khaimah for the construction of an alumina refinery and smelter in the State. APMDCL was to supply bauxite from Jerrela Block in Chintapalli of Visakhapatnam district. Accordingly, Three bauxite mining leases were issued to the APMDCL on December 28, 2007. At Jerrela Block -I in Chintapalli Reserve Forest of Visakhapatnam district, 85 hectares were allocated, 617 hectares were allocated at Jerrela Bock II and VIII and another 460  hectares were allocated at Jerrela Block - III.

In 2013, in its annual report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) raised certain objections with regard to profit and equity share and the APMDCl decided to withdraw the Bauxite Supply Agreement (BSA) with JSWH. A GO was issued on April 6, 2016, cancelling the MoU with JSWH, following which the latter filed a writ petition in the High Court and the case is pending.

On April 6, 2016, the Government issued an order (GO MS No 44) cancelling BSA with ANRAK and the latter approached the High Court. The court in its order dated April 27, 2016, clarified that the issuance of the Government Order did not itself terminate the BSA. However, this shall not be construed as preventing the APMDCL to exercise contractual rights, if any.  

Subsequently, the APMDCL issued a show-cause notice to ANRAK on June 20, 2016, mentioning the objection raised by the CAG. Unsatisfied with the reply from ANRAK, APMDCL cancelled the BSA. Following it, ANRAK again approached the High Court and the case is pending. On July 29, 2019, the Director of Mines and Geology, in a report, submitted that the APMDCL did not obtain CFO (Consent for Operation) for the mines.  Further the DMG has stated that the APMDCL failed to execute the lease deed within the time limit of six months, as specified in Rule 31 of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 and no extension of time was granted by the government.

TDP Araku MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former MLA Siveri Soma, were gunned down by Maoists in Visakhapatnam Agency on September 22 last, for allegedly supporting bauxite mining.

Controversial mining leases

The mining leases were issued in two different spells to the APMDCL for supplying bauxite to two companies —
JSWHL and AAL
Nov 5, 2015: Govt issues GO Ms. No 97 diverting 1,212 hectares of forest land for mining
ANRAK establishes an alumina refinery and a power plant at Rachapally in Makavaripalem of Visakhapatnam with `4,500 crore
July 7, 2005: Govt signs MoU with JSWHL
Jan 1, 2008: 3 mining leases, in Vizag dist,  granted to APMDCL  
February 14, 2007: Govt enters into an MoU with the Govt of Ras-al-Khaimah for the construction of
an alumina refinery  
December 28, 2007: Three bauxite mining leases were issued
to APMDCL
2013: CAG raises objections with regard to profit and equity share. APMDC decided to withdraw BSA with JSWH
April 6, 2016: Govt issues order cancelling BSA with JSWH, following which the latter filed a writ petition in HC
April 6, 2016: State govt issues orders cancelling BSA with ANRAK and the latter approaches the High Court. The case is pending

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