'AP guv should cancel mining leases' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'AP guv should cancel mining leases'

The one solution to check alienation of tribals and growth of Maoists is by stopping all mining activities in their areas, according to Union tribal affairs minister Kishore Chandra Deo.

delhi Updated: Apr 23, 2012 23:49 IST
Shekhar Iyer

The one solution to check alienation of tribals and growth of Maoists is by stopping all mining activities in their areas, according to Union tribal affairs minister Kishore Chandra Deo. But his suggestion has a political catch to it — Deo wants governors, rather than the state governments concerned, to use their discretionary powers to cancel mining leases.

Backed by rural affairs minister Jairam Ramesh, Deo has asked Andhra Pradesh governor ESL Narasimhan to invoke his special powers to cancel bauxite mining leases and MoUs in the state. But the governor thinks the state government should take a call. Incidentally, the leases in Andhra were awarded during the tenure of late YS Rajasekhara Reddy, and many state Congress leaders believe that cancelling leases is the best way to curb his son YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s "financial clout".

Deo, who represents Araku Lok Sabha constituency, said Maoists were gaining sympathy of the local tribals due to the mining activities.

The governor has sought chief minister Kiran Reddy's opinion on Deo's letter, which spoke of an "alarming situation" developing in areas around Visakhapatnam due to unfettered mining for bauxite.

Deo's letter could have been timed with party loyalists urging the Congress high command to curb the influence of rebel leader Jagan Mohan Reddy ahead of the by-poll to 18 assembly seats in August, sources said.

Deo letter also said that YSR signed MoUs with several companies, which were neither owned nor controlled by tribal people.

According to him, these flagrantly violated the Alienation of Land Transfer Regulation (ALTR) Act. Under this act, a non-tribal person is prohibited from purchasing land or even getting a lease in these areas.