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AP Cabinet to take final call on bauxite mining: Minister

Despite a Government Order having been issued for resumption of bauxite mining in forest land in Visakhapatnam district, a final decision on it will be taken at an Andhra Pradesh Cabinet meeting next week, state Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao today said.

“Though GO 97 (for resumption of bauxite mining in Vizag agency) has been issued, the government will respect the sentiments and feelings of the locals and take a decision on bauxite mining at the Cabinet meeting on November 16,” the Human Resources Development minister told reporters here.

TDP government is committed to the development of the tribal people in the region and would consider the voice of the locals vis-a-vis bauxite mining in the agency areas, he assured.

Blaming former chief minister late YS Rajasekhara Reddy for pushing bauxite mining in Vizag agency, Rao said that YSR Congress Party leaders are now claiming that they are against mining in the area.

Meanwhile, asked whether he had received any death threat from Maoists over the bauxite mining issue, the minister replied in the negative.

In a controversial move, the Chandrababu Naidu government recently gave the approval, with certain conditions, for bauxite mining on 1,212 hectares of forest land in Visakhapatnam district.

The Naxals had reportedly asked the government to cancel its GO in this regard while claiming that allowing of mining activity will adversely affect the livelihood of tribals.

Meanwhile, anticipating protests by locals in Vizag agency over the issue of bauxite mining, authorities have postponed the ‘Araku Utsav’, which was scheduled to begin from tomorrow, to December 25.

Although he did not mention the exact reason for the postponement of the festival, Rao said it will be held along with the Visakha Utsav in a grand manner, beginning on Christmas day and continuing till December 27.

Araku in Visakhapatnam district is a picturesque area with tall hills, deep valleys and waterfalls. It makes up two- thirds of Visakha agency and attracts tourists from far and wide.