Revoke Laterite Mining Lease At Avelthi: HRF

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) strongly urges the Government to immediately revoke the mining lease granted to Sagini Sobhan Babu for mining of laterite in an extent of 54.233 hectares (134.01 acres) at Avelthi in Velangi panchayat of Sankavaram mandal in East Godavari district. We demand that the public hearing for the proposed project slated for September 20 be cancelled forthwith. Not doing so would amount to a mockery of the law and the environmental clearance regime.

A three-member HRF team visited Avelthi village located high up on the mountain on Thursday and spoke with local residents who are all Adivasis belonging to the konda reddy tribe. There are innumerable perennial streams located in these mountains. The proposed laterite mining would grossly undermine water security not only in the hill tracts but also the plain areas as well. Moreover, the catchment of the Pampa reservoir is also located in these mountains. The livelihood of Adivasis of Avelthi, Ondregula, Peddur, Anumarthi and numerous other villages in the area will be significantly eroded if mining is allowed.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report put out by the project proponent is a sham. Assessments trotted out in the EIA report are highly dubious and  riddled with a number of inconsistencies and misrepresentations. The whole area falls in the pristine Sarlanka reserve forest and is abundantly green with very heavy natural forest. Mining will devastate the region stretching from Prathipadu mandal in East Godavari to Sarugudu in Nathavaram mandal of Visakhapatnam district. The claim that the proposed project’s impact on ecology will be insignificant is absolutely untenable.

Moreover, the mining lease for the project was issued through G.O. No. 196 on 12-8-2009 by the then secretary (mines) Y Srilakshmi who is facing serious charges in the Obulapuram mining scam. It is by now common knowledge that the procedure employed while issuing the G.O. was highly irregular. The present project proponent in Avelthi had earlier done illegal mining and committed a number of irregularities in the Vanthada area that have cost the public exchequer dear. The East Godavari district administration had enquired into the matter and confirmed the same.

HRF feels that the proposed project entails unacceptable environmental and human livelihood costs in a highly sensitive eco-system and must not be allowed to go ahead. 

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)   

A Ravi
(HRF East Godavari dist. President)

Y Rajesh
(HRF East Godavari dist. General Secretary)


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