The Human Rights Forum (HRF) has sought a joint inquiry by the district Collector, the Chief Engineer (Irrigation, North Andhra) and the Chief Conservator of Forests into what it calls “multiple mining illegalities” and wanton destruction of the catchment area of the Kalyanalova reservoir in Cheemalapadu panchayat of Ravikamatam mandal in the district.
Speaking after inaugurating a photo exhibition at the reservoir site depicting the perilous state of environment after granite mining was undertaken in the area on Saturday, HRF functionary V.S. Krishna alleged that two granite firms were operating in the area, as a result of which inflows into the dam diminished.
The exhibition was organised by the Save Kalyana Lova Movement, which chose the day since thousands of people from across the district congregate at the site the day after Maha Sivratri every year.
The activists of the organisation interacted with the people and explained them the hazards that mining had brought to the area.
“The brazen manner in which Somalamma Konda, located in the Cheemalapadu Reserve Forest, is being dug up is disturbing. The quarrying activity is destroying the hill streams and various springs located in the area. An investigation will expose the officials and miners responsible for the devastation. They must be prosecuted as per law,” Mr. Krishna stated.
‘NOC not obtained’
“The government is constitutionally obliged to protect the area and ensure that the streams that feed the Varaha river, which flows into the reservoir, and the forest are not affected,” he said, and added that the Irrigation Department had in June last said it was neither consulted nor the requisite NOC obtained before taking up mining.
Farmers and adivasis had brought many irregularities, including falsifying of documents and suppressing of key facts, to the officials concerned but to no avail, he alleged.
‘Threat to dam safety’
Nalli Kalyanam of the A.P. Adivasi Hakkula Sadhana Sangham and P.S. Ajay Kumar of the Save Kalyana Lova Movement said that mining had already devastated a large reserve forest area. The unbridled activity, besides obstructing the natural flow of water into the reservoir, was also threatening the safety of the dam, they said.
The farmers and adivasis present at the event demanded that the mines be shut down and the area declared as a no-mining zone.