Quartzite Mining Causing Havoc: All Permissions  In Garugubilli Mandal Must Be Cancelled

The Human Rights Forum demands that all permissions accorded for mining quartzite near the villages of Dalaivalasa, Gottivalasa and Vuddavolu in Garugubilli mandal of Vizianagaram district be cancelled forthwith. If the mining is allowed, it will cause immense injury to the health of hundreds of families residing in the area as well as devastate water bodies, farming and dairy. Quartzite mining undertaken for over 10 years in the area has already wrecked immense havoc.

A four-member HRF team visited the area on Monday and spoke with residents of these villages. We were shocked on seeing the extent of destruction due to unmitigated mining for quartzite in close vicinity to houses. This is in open violation of the Supreme Court order of December 12, 2003 in Civil Appeals No. 1907-1914 of 2000 which states that mining cannot be permitted within 2 km from any habitation. The AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) guidelines state that distance between boundary of mining site and human habitation, educational institutions and religious places should not be less than 500 meters. The distance between the quartzite mine and Dalaivalasa village is a mere 180 meters! The only explanation for this barefaced criminality is that mining, revenue and officials of the PCB are in nexus with miners.

Mining has only impoverished an otherwise vibrant farmer community in the area. There are streams that emanate in the mine area hill that feed the huge Konkamaani tank adjacent to Dalaivalasa village. Inflows into this cheruvu, which has an ayacut of nearly a thousand acres, will invariably deplete. The mining hill is also grazing land for a large number of cattle from Dalaivalasa, Sivarampuram, Ullibhadra and Vudddavolu villages particularly between August-December. They are in danger of being totally deprived of this precious resource.

Because of the nature of quartzite mining, the local people have had to put up with intermittent blasting and continuous dust taking its toll on human health, contaminating drinking water sources in the area and negatively impacting agriculture. ‘When mining goes on, we mostly stay indoors’, we were told not just by the people of Vuddavolu and Dalaivalasa but also of Gollavanivalasa, a village located near the Garugubilli-Parvathipuram road. Entry of quartz particles in human body through inhalation, through water and other ways is known to cause cancer and several life-threatening diseases.

Presently, there are three fresh mining leases in the villages of Dalaivalasa, Gottivalasa and Vuddavolu with the proponents seeking Environmental Clearance for which a public hearing is to be held on March 9, 2022. The combined production capacity of the quartzite is a mind-boggling 701984 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA). If the earlier approved capacity for which mining was done for several years near Dalaivalasa was a mere 6000 MTPA, one shudders to think what the cumulative impact of these three mines with such a large capacity would entail.

Authorities concerned are Constitutionally obligated to stop this brazen criminality. HRF demands that all attempts to mine quartzite in the area be immediately stopped and existing licenses are revoked. A comprehensive investigation must be carried out to identify and prosecute all those who did not enforce requisite regulations and facilitated these illegalities.

VS Krishna 
(HRF Coordination Committee member
TS & AP)

KV Jagannadha Rao
(HRF AP State vice-president)


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