AP dumps bauxite mining move due to a strict no to the move by the security agencies and growing YSRCP image in North Coastal Districts.
Visakhapatnam: There is more than meets the eye in Andhra Pradesh government going back on its proposed move to mine the bauxite in the tribal belt of Visakhapatnam reserved forest areas. The issue which has been discussed extensively during the State cabinet meet on Monday, expressed dismay over the issue of a government order without the knowledge of the Chief Minister, as well as the forest minister. However, it was assumed that an earlier state government order has been approved forest clearance to Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC), on the basis of the Government of India (GoI) nod over a pending application, for mining the bauxite.
But, insiders say that though the State government is all in favour of mining bauxite, and made a move to convince the tribal people in the Paderu Sub Division Area, under which the bauxite mines are located. However, it has to dump the proposed move following, a briefing from the security agencies and for political reasons.
Firstly, the state security agencies had told in clear terms that the Maoist activities in the Andhra Pradesh side have very low since last five to six years. This was due to a proactive pursuit adopted by the security agencies, and also, the tribal people in the area were fed up with getting into cross fire between the security agencies and the Maoists. So, they were not as proactive as they used to be in extending cooperation to the Maoist groups in the state tribal belts. For, “the people in the area wanted to live in peace, and wanted development like roads, better health facilities, schools and the like.” And, continued disturbance in their areas due to the Maoist and the state security agencies fighting with each others had brought untold hardships to them from both sides. In several instances, while the security agencies took some of tribal people being sympathisers of the Maoists, on the other, the Maoists charging, them being police informers. They could not bear getting sandwiched between the two. It was for this reason, the tribal areas under Chintapalli, Narsipatnam and Paderu areas have been living in peace for several years, when the domination of the Maoists had receded from the areas, and has been confined only to the villages and areas, bordering Andhra Pradesh – Chhattisgarh and Odisha states. But, if the government goes ahead with its move to mine the bauxite which the tribal population is strongly opposing, then, it might give an opportunity to the Maoists to stage a comeback and claim the areas from which they had virtually withdrew. And, there is every possibility that the local tribal people could once again extend their cooperation to the Maoists. This was in precise the brief that has been relayed to the government security agencies. Also, at a time when the state has been passing through a rough patch due to the bifurcation blues, and if the Maoists step up their activities, then, the state will have to bear the burden of substantial part of its resources to provide a back up to the security agencies to take on the Maoists. It was due to this briefing, the state government has reportedly put a halt on going ahead with the mining of bauxite.
From the political angle, the government is worried about the growing clout of the YSRCP in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh, consisting Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram district. It “all started with Bhogapuram International Airport Project. People in the area have been vehemently opposing the government move to acquire thousands of acres of lands. The YSRCP had effectively cashed on this issue and has made considerable political gains against the ruling party. Any move on mining bauxite would further dent the image of the party and the government. On condition of anonymity a senior minister from North Coastal AP said, “YSRCP has made considerable gains in last 18-months. Unless, steps are taken forming with effective coordination between the party and government, there is every possibility that the YSRCP could make the displeasure of the people towards the government into a vote bank.” This issue too has played a key role in the government halting its decision over giving permission to APMDC, to go ahead with the mining of bauxite