ANANTAPUR: At least 10 habitations under Chitravati reservoir bed in Anantapur and Kadapa district borders are about to be evacuated following the speeding up of the process of survey on rich deposits of lithium mineral.
A central team has conducted mineral surveys in the major gram panchayat Dadihota of Anantapur district and adjacent villages of Lingala mandal in Pulivendula assembly constituency in Kadapa district the last week.
Preliminary studies have found rich deposits of valuable lithium in areas surrounding Chitravati river bed. Notably, during the FSP 2021-22, GSI took up seven projects on Lithium in Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan.
A GSI team conducted the survey in the villages surrounding Dadithota, Turakavaripalli, Nayanapalli in Tadimarri mandal in Anantapur district and Parnapalle, Lopata Nuthala, Tathireddypalle and few other villages in Pulivendula assembly segment of Kadapa district.
Sources hinted at a plan to establish a plant closer to Chitravathi Balancing Reservoir because plenty of water is available for the purification of extracted minerals.
The survey teams conducted the study without involvement of the local authorities. The villagers were reportedly in fear of evacuation though their lands were shaped as rich orchards of various fruits after Krishna water was diverted to the reservoir.
Dadithota gram panchayat alone has 3000 voters along with 2,000 acres of orchards and 6,400 acres of reserved forests. Reports said the rich deposits of Lithium are present from a depth of 30 to 300 metres in the soil.
GSI has already taken up Lithium extraction projects in Mandya district in Karnataka in the first phase.
While the Dadithota area villagers were in a state of fear over evacuation, they were reportedly instructed to prepare mentally to exit from their habitations and the GSI will pay compensation for their properties.
Farmers Keshava Reddy, Sathish Reddy and Amarnath Reddy from Dadithota lamented over their future as they had worked hard to establish their orchards a few years ago. "Shockingly, the GSI plans to take over the entire villages along with agricultural lands for the lithium plant. More than 1864 land pass books existed in the village alone", they observed.
Another farmer owning five acres of rich land fears over his family’s future.
Securing lithium supplies will play a major role in Indian energy major’s pivot towards the country’s green economy. For several months now, an unremarkable patch of earth in the region located a mere 60km away from Anantapur, has sent several arms of the Indian government into a tizzy. The reason: the ancient igneous rock deposits in the region (a by-product of large scale volcanic activity in the Deccan plateau millions of years ago) holds the first traces of Lithium ever to be discovered in India.
While producing 66,000 tonnes a year of battery-grade lithium carbonate, the mine may cause groundwater contamination with metals including antimony and arsenic, according to federal documents.
The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research under the Department Atomic Energy has undertaken lithium exploration in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The production of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) has increased by almost eight-fold in the past ten years due to the growing demand for consumer electronics and electric-drive vehicles.
The social and environmental implications of increased lithium demand is significant not only in the context of the policy initiatives that are incentivizing electric vehicle adoption, but also because electric vehicle adoption is part of the vision of sustainability transitions that are being put forth in a variety of contexts.
Praja Science Vedika president Suresh Babu observed the adverse impacts on flora and fauna in the Chitravati river bed will cause a high rate of radiation and contamination of water as the already existing Uranium plant some 20km from the proposed site was causing adverse impacts on agriculture and human life.