Andhra Pradesh in mood to mine bauxite in Visakapatnam

All MoUs were cancelled but APMDC seeks changes in them.

Visakhapatnam: The state government has gone all out to take the credit for cancelling the MoUs the Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy government had entered into with two private companies on the supply of bauxite ore, mined in Vizag Agency by the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC), hinting that it was done honouring the sentiments of the local tribals who were opposing the mining.

However, an internal circular of the state-run mining agency, that Deccan Chronicle accessed, had urged the government to amend certain clauses in the MoUs to enhance the revenue to the APMDC.

Going by the circular, anti-bauxite mining activists are of the opinion that the state government would once again sign agreements with the private companies, with the new amendments, and that the proposal for bauxite mining was not going to be dropped. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) too, in its latest report, found fault with the MoUs which it felt to be unfavourable to the APMDC.

"According to the agreement, the following are the lacunae which are unfavourable to the APMDC and are to be amended for better implementation and to enhance revenue to the corporation.

To prevent APMDC/GoAP from selling bauxite to any other party including export, the equity should be enhanced from 1.5 per cent of the total equity in the value added industry to APMDC," said the internal circular by the then APMDC vice-chairman and managing director Salini Misra at the end of 2014, when discussing agreements with Anrak Alumina Ltd.

But the present state government, in its GOs 44 and 45 issued on April 7 by the industries department, cancelling the MoUs, had found fault with the previous government, saying that they were not favourable to the corporation and not because the tribals were opposing it.

The CAG's report No. 5 of 2014 on the PSUs for the year that ended in March, 2013, has observed that bauxite reserves had been mysteriously undervalued to Rs 11,400 crore only, which was further reduced to Rs 258 crore, in the agreements.

While the APMDC has been maintaining 11 per cent share to leases on other minerals, such as granite and beach sand, in the case of bauxite, it was only 1.5 per cent, which was leading to huge revenue loss.

“The cancellation of MoUs is only to hoodwink the public. The state government is still contemplating mining bauxite in Vizag Agency, putting the livelihood of tribals, environment and ecology at stake. They will sign fresh agreements. If they are so committed to the welfare of the tribals, the government should immediately cancel GO No 97.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will be touring Vizag Agency shortly to express solidarity with the tribals in their fight against the mining proposal," former AP Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar told this correspondent.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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