Over 150 apply for Bayyaram mining lease

Over 150 apply for Bayyaram mining lease
Highlights

Scientific exploration underway to assess exact quantum of reservesA Decision already taken to allot...

  • Scientific exploration underway to assess exact quantum of reservesA
  • Decision already taken to allot 2500 hectares of mining area to VSPA
  • Remaining mining area to be allotted after survey

Mahesh Avadhutha

Hyderabad: Even as political parties are demanding that an integrated steel plant be set-up at Bayyaram at any cost and have been threatening that they will not allow the iron ore be taken away to Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), over 150 applications that include Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) and VSP were received for mining lease in 6,000 hectares of Bayyaram, informed the officials of Mines Department.

The exact quantum of reserves in these areas would be known only after the scientific exploration process was fully completed, they informed. According to the department officials, Assistant Director (Mines) in Kothagudem along with the District Forest Officer (DFO) recently commenced the survey works which would take at least three more months to finish.

"RINL would be handed over its share of land after the completion of the scientific survey. Afterwards, the government would take a decision about granting lease to other qualified companies in the fray depending upon the mining reserves available in the remaining 3,500 hectares," stated officials. It may be mentioned here that the State government had already taken a decision to allot 2,500 hectares to Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), a Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) enterprise.

RINL has expressed its intent to set-up commensurate value addition facilities such as beneficiation plant, pelletisation plant and an integrated steel plant, depending on the quantum of iron ore reserves available at Bayyaram (Khammam District) and other proposed allotment of mines in Warangal and Karimnagar districts.

Contradictory views on Bayyaram memo While the opposition parties are alleging that the memo issued on Bayyaram violates the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, the State administration, on the other hand, contradicts the view. According to the officials from the Mining Department, Andhra Pradesh is the only state in the country that has enacted a separate law under Section 11(5) of Mines Act, which states that there should be no objection if permission is granted to any undertaking owned or controlled by the State or Central governments.

Retired IAS officer EAS Sarma, in separate letters addressed to principal secretaries of Mines, Tribal Affairs and Chief Secretary in April last week, pointed out that Bayyaram mandal was a part of the tribal tract notified under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution and therefore any economic activity in this area was a violation of rules.

Commenting on this issue, BJP senior leader and former union minister Ch Vidyasagar Rao has demanded recalling of the Governor for failing to safeguard the Constitution. He reminded that the Fifth Schedule comes under the purview of the Governor and it was his duty to safeguard it.

vidya sagar raoVidyasagar Rao asked the government to withdraw the memo issued on Bayyaram because it did not take the approval of the local tribal gram sabhas, which is unconstitutional. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy should constitute a Tribal Advisory Council (TAC) before moving any further on Bayyaram issue, observed the BJP leader."For this very reason, I gave a slogan that Bayyaram iron ore is the right of tribals," remarked Vidyasagar.

Meanwhile, former MP and TRS senior leader B Vinod Kumar pointed out that any activity in Bayyaram, which is part of the reserve forest area, violates even the Wildlife Act. He stated that unilateral decision taken by the government was in violation of various laws and rules.

CPI (M) legislator Julakanti Ranga Reddy flayed the government for disregarding its own laws. Without taking the consent of the local public, how could the government set up an industry at Bayyaram, he questioned.

RINL to honour all stipulations On the other hand, AP Choudhary, Chief Managing Director (CMD), RINL said that 100 per cent government undertaking enterprise would honour all the statutory, legal and regulatory stipulations in respect of mining.

This includes Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation-MMDR Act 1957, Forest & Environmental clearances with special reference to Panchayats Act, 1996 and Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, he added.

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