Visakhapatnam: Residents of around 22 villages coming under three mandals of Vizag are up in arms against the ongoing granite mining on a large scale. These villagers have formed into committees and decided to fight it out what they termed it as the quarrying had snatched away their basic needs like roads. Over the last five years there has been a new found activity in Butchaiapeta, Madugula and Ravikamatham mandals under Madugula and Chodavaram forest range — Granite quarrying.
In the last five years at least 42 quarries have come up carrying indiscriminate granite quarrying. It was reported in these columns earlier that information accessed through RTI Act, there are at least 900 applications pending at the local mines office for granite quarrying in the district. Doubts are also being expressed on the extent of the quarrying. It is alleged that, often, leaseholders, do quarrying beyond the permissible area.
DKT lands which were given to tribals for the purpose of cultivation, where sale and purchase is prohibited, are unauthorisedly bought by the quarry owners for the purpose of laying of roads and for quarrying also. There are at least eight committees that were formed in these villages and started agitation against the granite quarrying. “There are at least 40 quarries that are destroying the local ecology and livelihood of the tribals who have been cultivating cashew crops. Now to occupy some more extent of these lands the local granite quarry owners have colluded with the government authorities and stopping the issue of land pattas to these tribals who have been cultivating since more than three decades. If there are no pattas it will be very easy to grab the land and use it for various purposes as part of granite quarrying,” said K. Govinda Rao, who was instrumental in forming these committees.