Shutdown in Visakhapatnam tribal area to protest bauxite mining

Visakhapatnam:A shutdown was observed in the tribal areas of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday to protest the state government’s nod for bauxite mining.

The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) suspended all bus services to tribal villages in view of the shutdown called by all-party committee against bauxite mining.

Shops, business and educational institutions were closed in Paderu, Arakau Valley and surrounding tribal areas.

The protestors closed roads leading to Araku Borra Caves, Museum and Padmavathi Gardens in Araku Valley, a popular tourist spot about 100 km from coastal city of Visakhapatnam.

Main opposition YSR Congress Party, Congress, the Left parties and tribal groups have called for the shutdown. Leaders of various parties staged a sit-in at Paderu.

Even leaders of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in some villages joined the protest.

The tribals have been opposing the bauxite mining on the ground that it will displace them, affect their livelihood and harm the environment.

Police stepped up security to prevent any untoward incident. The Communist Party of India (Maoist)is also strongly opposing the bauxite mining.

The state government on Wednesday approved mining lease for the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation for taking up bauxite mining in the agency area.

It diverted 1,212 hectares in Chintapalli and Jerrila reserve forest in Narsipatnam division for bauxite mining.

The previous Congress regime in undivided Andhra Pradesh had permitted bauxite mining and had even entered into MoUs with few companies but due to strong protest by tribals kept them in abeyance.

Then Congress MP from Araku, V. Kishore Chandra Deo, who also served as union tribal welfare minister, had taken strong objection to bauxite mining and had urged the government to cancel the MoUs.