Telangana assembly asks Centre to junk uranium mining in Nallamala forests
The DAE had recently proposed to take up survey in the Nallamala forests for possible uranium exploration after the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests gave an in-principle clearance.Updated: Sep 16, 2019 20:12 IST
The Telangana state assembly on Monday requested the Centre to withdraw a proposal to conduct exploration of uranium ore in the Nallamala forests a day after minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) would not be permitted to do so.
The assembly passed a resolution to this effect unanimously. The resolution appealed to the Centre not to take any measures for uranium mining in the Nallamala forests that encompass Amrabad tiger reserve, one of the largest tiger sanctuaries in the country.
Introducing the resolution in the assembly, minister for industries and information technology K T Rama Rao urged the Centre to withdraw the proposal for uranium mining in view of the possible threat to the habitation and biodiversity in and around Nallamala, besides public fears of air and water pollution due to uranium mining.
He said the exploration and mining of uranium would adversely impact environment in the region and pose serious health challenges.
Noted environmentalist and former Union energy secretary E A S Sarma welcomed the Telangana government’s decision.
“As per the tribal laws, no decision should be taken with regard to any activity in the scheduled areas. Nallamala forests is a natural habitat for Chenchu tribes and without their consent, the state government and forest advisory committee and ministry of environment allowed the DAE to conduct preliminary survey on uranium availability in the past. This should not have been done,” he said.
He also said the State government should not allow any activity pertaining to uranium mining.
The DAE had recently proposed to take up survey in the Nallamala forests for possible uranium exploration following an in-principle clearance given by the Forest Advisory Committee under Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) in May.
The DAE proposed to conduct drilling in certain identified areas of the forests and sought the approval from the state forest department.
But chief minister Rao dismissed the proposal out of hand.
“My government will not allow any destruction of the Nallamalla forests at any cost. We have not given permission to any organization nor shall we give it in future. We are aware that the Uranium mining will contaminate key water projects like Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar and Pulichintala across Krishna river and destroy its delta area. This could also impact water supply to Hyderabad,” Rao said on Sunday.
For the last few days, there have been strong protests from environmentalists and social organizations, besides opposition parties, over the proposal. The movement also attracted the attention of Telugu film industry, with several film celebrities including actors Samantha, Vijaya Devarakonda and directors like Shekhar Kammula and Nag Ashwin joining the “Sava Nallamala” campaign.