VIJAYAWADA: A day after TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu charged the YSRC government with plundering natural resources through illegal mining, two senior leaders of the party -- Government Advisor (Public Affairs) Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy and Minister for Mines and Geology Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy -- refuted the allegations levelled by the Opposition Leader and termed them a malicious campaign against the government to mislead the people.
Addressing the media at Tadepalli on Thursday, Sajjala alleged Naidu was trying to mislead the public by displaying morphed images in a photo exhibition on illegal mining held by the TDP to divert the attention of people from the State government’s initiatives.
Sajjala claimed that the State is going with a balanced approach without damaging the environment, unlike the previous TDP regime, which violated the rules. To buttress his claim, he said the previous TDP government was made to pay Rs 100 crore as fine by the National Green Tribunal for illegal sand mining in Krishna.
"There has been no illegal mining activity since the YSRC government came to power. The Mines and Geology Department is functioning as per the norms and even secured two awards from the Centre for its efficient performance, besides taking tough action against those violating the rules," Sajjala asserted.
He made it clear that it was natural to have mining when there is construction activity for getting materials like cement, sand and iron to take up development works like restoring roads and building 31 lakh houses.
On the Rushikonda issue, he asserted that there is no illegal mining in Visakhapatnam and there was construction activity at that place even during the TDP regime. "Naidu was trying to hamper the construction activities to irk the government and wean the people away from YSRC," he alleged.
Peddireddy alleged that illegal mining was rampant in the State during the previous TDP regime. "It is our government which put an end to the mining mafia of the TDP government. The allegation of Naidu that the State government is destroying hills is far from truth. Construction works at Rushikonda are being taken up as per the law and Naidu is trying to halt the works by approaching court," he said.
"How can government get gravel to lay roads? How can we get sand to construct houses without mining? How can we get cement without mining laterite? These basic things do not change if a government changes," he averred.