Not in sync

AP court stays bauxite mining

By C Balaji
Published: Tuesday 15 August 2006

on june 21, 2006, the Andhra Pradesh High Court stayed proposed bauxite mining in the Araku and Sapparla tribal areas in Visakhapatnam district. The court directed the state to first seek clearance from the Union ministry of tribal affairs (mota) and ministry of environment and forests. The direction came in response to a petition filed by two ngos -- the Hyderabad-based Search for Action and Knowledge through Tribal Initiative and the Vishakhapatnam-based Dhimsa.

In July 2005, the Jindal South West Holding Limited had signed a memorandum of understanding (mou) with the Andhra government, under which the state's mineral development corporation was to supply raw material (bauxite) to the company's alumina complex, being set up near Visakhapatnam.

The petitioners claim the mou was illegal and unconstitutional, as the proposed mining area came under scheduled area where any activity required clearance from mota so as to facilitate the resettlement and rehabilitation of tribals living in scheduled areas. Besides, the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, mandates environmental clearance for mining in forest land, claim petitioners. Tribal organisations allege mining will hit the livelihood of tribals who cultivate coffee on the forest patch.

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