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AP govt cancels bauxite mining lease in Vizag


Press Trust of India Amaravati
The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday cancelled the conditional lease granted to the AP Mineral Development Corporation for mining of bauxite ore in 1,521 hectares in the tribal region of Visakhapatnam district.
The lease was originally granted when current Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddys father (late) Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was the CM of (then united) Andhra Pradesh in 2007 and 2008 despite strong protests from the tribal population in the Araku-Paderu Agency area.
"The conditional order granted in favour of APMDC is effaced in the eye of law and in the light of the recorded facts of impossibility of mining operations, and is to be revoked.
Also, the disability of APMDC in proceeding further in securing of compliances as indicated in the initial conditional grant order arose on account of impossibility of performance due to recurring acts of violence in the area because of opposition to the prospect of mining operations in tribal areas," state Mines Secretary K Ramgopal said in a series of six orders issued on Thursday.
There were abductions and violent killings, which continue unabated, to the extent of the murder of one sitting MLA and one former MLA who were considered as supportive of the mining.
The local bodies and the tribal advisory council opposed and continue to oppose the prospect of mining operations, rendering the operations unsafe and unviable in the above context, the Secretary noted in the order.
"By operation of the law as well as on account of the supervening impossibility of performance of the mining operations in the wake of continued violent agitations against bauxite mining, the lease operations cannot be conducted in the area and therefore the earlier conditional grant order issued has now become non-operative due to the cumulative effect of all the circumstances," Ramgopal added.
The then government of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy granted leases to the APMDC for mining of bauxite ore in different blocks in the Agency area of Visakhapatnam district.
The APMDC entered into bauxite supply agreements (BSA) with Government of Ras-al-Khaimah and Jindal South West Holdings Limited that came forward to set up alumina refinery and smelter plant.
In fact, Ras-al-Khaimah, in partnership with Penna group, established an alumina refinery and power plant in Visakhapatnam district with an investment of about Rs 4,500 crore, creating an entity called Anrak Aluminium Limited.
In 2016, the Chandrababu Naidu government withdrew the BSA with both parties, citing adverse observations by the CAG, and they filed petitions in the High Court challenging the government action.
The petitions are still pending disposal.
However, citing the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 and the Mineral (Other than Atomic and Hydrocarbon Energy Minerals) Concession Rules, 2016, of the Union Ministry of Mines, the state Director of Mines and Geology recommended revocation of the mining lease.
Accordingly, the Mines Secretary issued a set of six government orders revoking the bauxite mining lease.

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First Published: Sep 26 2019 | 9:45 PM IST

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