M A I N   N E W S

Ramesh on collision course with party govt in Andhra
Suresh Dharur/TNS

Hyderabad, March 4
The environmental activism of Union Minister Jairam Ramesh appears to have set him on a collision course with his party’s government in Andhra Pradesh. Joining the debate on the proposed bauxite mining in the coastal Andhra region, the Environment Minister made it clear that he would not allow mining “as long as he was a member of the Union Cabinet”.

Though the Congress government in the state is keen on going ahead with the mining project, Ramesh asserted he would continue to oppose it in the interests of safeguarding the rights of local tribals.

His assertion came during a public meeting he addressed at Chintapalli in the north coastal district of Visakhapatnam along with his ministerial colleague V Kishore Chandra Deo, a local leader who is also opposed to mining in the region.

The two ministers argued that proposed bauxite mining would adversely affect the environment and the tribal communities would lose their source of livelihood. “Rapid industrialisation ignoring the interests of tribals creates unrest in society,” Ramesh said.

They were addressing a gathering after inaugurating 59 multipurpose halls across 11 tribal mandals. The halls were constructed using MPLADS (MP Local Area Development Scheme) funds sanctioned by Ramesh who is a Rajya Sabha member from AP.

Bauxite mining is a major issue in the region with local tribals, civil rights activists, environmental groups and the Opposition parties.

The state-owned AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) had signed agreements in 2007 to allot bauxite mining leases to Jindal South West Limited, which is part of OP Jindal Group, and ANRAK, a state-owned company of United Arab Emirates (UAE), in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts.

State Tribal Welfare Minister P Balaraju has also joined the issue. He said he was also against bauxite mining in tribal-dominated areas of Visakhapatnam district.

“As a tribal, I am against bauxite mining in the district. I cannot work against the wishes of tribals. I have already conveyed my views to the Chief Minister and also told him about the opinion of the tribal people on the issue,” he said. 





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