Minerals & PEOPLE
Road No: 62, Jubilee Hills,
500033 – A.P. INDIA
+91 40 354 2975, 6505974
is an important note on the Andhra Bauxite Issue and moves to
amend the 5th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. I request all
of you to treat this urgent and respond by sending emails/ Fax
of protest to the AP Govt on opening up Bauxite mining
the pristine hills of the Eastern Ghats and to the Centre for
its secret attempts at repealing protective legislations in the
Events Leading to this Action Alert
The Eastern Ghats of India are endowed with many natural
resources - Forests,
Water, Land & Minerals. It also happens to be the home of
large populations of tribal peole from time immemorial . It has
witnessed many revolts in the last 250 years by the tribal people,
mostly on the rights over land, water and forests. The legislative
history of laws protecting these people and regions dates back
to over 150 years.
While framing the Constitution of India two unique Schedules
were added namely , the V & VI Schedules, to deal with the
tribal areas in order to protect them from undue exploitation
of the mainstream
We are here concerned with the V Schedule laws in the state of
Andhra Pradesh which are the Land Transfer Regulation Act of 1959,
Regulation 1/70 and the Ammendment to Section 11(5) of the Mines
& Minerals ( R & D ) act of 1957.
Even while such clear laws exist in AP to prevent alienation of
tribal lands , the state government had issued many leases to
non tribals ( Juristic or Natural ) to carry on industrial &
mining operations since 1952.
These have proved detrimental to the tribal people on the
Move by Samata
which has been working on the tribal land alieanation issues,
found two kinds of
alieanation - one by the individual non
tribal and the other by the State - in contravention of the Schedule
V and the laws under it.
on the above violations Samata approached the Supreme Court in
a Special Leave Application in 1995 and won a historic judgement
in favour of the tribal people of the V Scheduled areas in July
1997. This is now
popularly called the Samatha Judgement. (which is now the law
of the land in the words of the Attorney General of India)
Move by the Supreme
of the important points laid down by the court are:
lands, forest lands and tribal lands in Scheduled Areas cannot
be leased out to non-tribals or to private companies for mining/industrial
cannot lease out lands to non-tribals for mining operations as
it is in contravention of Schedule V of the Constitution. It therefore
declared all mining leases granted by the State Govt. in Schedule
V areas and renewals thereof illegal and null and void and aske
the State govt to stop all industries from mining operations.
activity should be taken up only by the State Mineral Development
Corporation or a co-operative of tribals and that too if they
are in compliance with the Forest Conservation Act and the Environment
SC also recognised that after the 73rd Amendment and the Panchayat
(Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, under which the Gram Sabhas
are competent to preserve and safeguard community resources and
reiterated the right of self-governance of adivasis.
In cases where similar Acts in other States do not totally prohibit
grant of mining leases of the lands in the Scheduled Area, similar
Committee of Secretaries and State Cabinet Sub-Committees should
be constituted and decision taken thereafter.
Before granting leases, it would be obligatory for the state government
to obtain concurrence of the Central Government which would, for
this purpose, constitute a Sub-Committee consisting of the Prime
Minister of India, Union Minister for Welfare, Union Minister
for Environment so that the State’s policy would be consistent
with the policy of the nation as a whole.
It would also be open to the appropriate legislature, preferably
after a thorough debate/conference of all the Chief Ministers,
Ministers concerned, to take a policy decision so as to bring
about a suitable enactment in the light of the guidelines laid
down above so that there would emerge a consistent scheme throughout
the country, in respect
of the tribal lands under which national
wealth in the form of minerals, is located.
the SC also ruled that at least 20% of the net profits should
be set up apart as a permanent fund as part of
business activity for establishment and provision of basic
facilities in areas of health, education roads and other public
order was given with retrospective effect.
July 1997 the State of AP and the central government have been
trying to appeal to the Suprme court to modify the order to have
prospective effect , but after three years in March 2000, the
SC dismissed the
appeals on the basis of merits. Hampered with this the State &
Central governments have been trying desperately to REMOVE the
LEGAL BASIS of the Samatha Judgement, so that tribal lands can
be leased out for mining and other industrial activity to private
and Multi National Corporations which is against the interests
of tribals and the
Moves by the Government
state Govt of AP has been unwisely and undemocratically trying
to amend the AP LTR Act of 1959 & the Amendment to Sec 11(5)
of MM(RD) Act of 1957 by forcing the Tribes Advisory Committee
(TAC) to pass a resolution for amending the LTR Act so that the
tribal areas can be opened up for mining to MNC's.
has led to wide spread protests from various political parties,
NGO's and tribal mass organisations. The Chief Minster of AP,
nevertheless, issued a statement before the start of the State
Assembly session in August this year that the government has no
plans of amending the Tribal Act but is going ahead inviting mining
companies, discreetly. The state government has gone ahead leasing
out large tracts to APMDC ( A state undertaking ) for bauxite
mining in the Agency areas of Vishakhapatnam District.
the AP Government has written to the Ministry of Environment &
Forests( MoEF) asking for forest clearance and has also applied
for a No Objection
Certificate (NOC) from the AP Pollution Control Board !
on 24th, 25th & 26th of September, a team from MoEF regional
office at Banglore visited the proposed bauxite areas for the
above purpose. We came to know of this visit just on time and
organised massive protests and public demonstrations all over
the hills of Visakhapatnam tribal area effectively conveying the
people's opposition to such a venture of the state government.
Around 20 different tribal groups consisting of students'
unions, community groups and NGO's have handed over memoranda
expressing their objections to the proposed amendments and mining
projects in the area.
Since these protests and campaigns, we have
been facing threat of harassment from the state government and
there is a very close surveillance on us.
We do not know to what extent the government would go to
repress this opposition but considering its seriousness on bauxite
mining, we fear further repression in the immediate future.
Moves of the Central
the state government of A.P is undemocratic, the Centre is not
far behind. On the
contrary, it has much more draconian plans of amending the Vth
Schedule of the Constitution itself!
The Central Government, through its Ministry of Mines,
has moved a
which is classified as SECRET on 10th July 2000 ( No.16/48/97-M.VI)
to the Committee of Secretaries putting forward a reactionary
view to the Samata Judgement. It proposes to amend the Vth Schedule
itself to remove the LEGAL BASIS for the Samata Judgement and
getting it passed in the parliament by a simple majority!!!
Displacement is Not The Issue" Article in The New Indian
Express - 21st Sept 2000). The attitude of the Govt is best summed
up in its active endorsement of the Attorney General of India
that the way forward is to "effect the necessary amendments
so as to overcome the said SC judgement by removing the legal
basis of the said Judgement"
note repeatedly expresses with deep concern and anguish how the
judgment will adversely affect mining and industrial activity.
It does not even once venture to think or consider that the judgement
and its provisions can actually be enabling and empower the adivasis
in their quest for social and economic justice. The note is totally
biased in its treatment of the judgement and makes it out to be
against the interests of adivasis while in reality it only reasserts
claims that are being made by adivasis round the country.
MoM note proposes that an explanation be added after para 5(2)
of in the V Schedule removeing prohibition and restrictions on
the transfer of land by adivasis to non-adivasis for undertaking
any non-agricultural operations including prospecting and mining
one sentence at a stroke would completely defeat the very intentions
and spirit of the V Schedule of the constitution and open the
floodgates for unfettered alienation of adivasis from their land,
water and forests. In essence it spells virtual doom for the adivasis,
as the last measure of protection will be removed leaving them
at the mercy of an uncaring state and ruthless commercial interests.
proposed amendment flies in the face of constitutional guarantees
and safe-guards for the poor and vulnerable of the country and
is in complete violation of the spirit of the fundamental rights.
It also exposes where and with whom the Govt. stands. Rather than
explore ways and means to implement the directions of the court
in the Samata judgement in its enabling spirit and provisions
especially concerning the involvement of tribal co-operatives
and profit sharing, the secret MoM note only exposes how the Union
Govt. is actually searching for ways and means to nullify it or
get it quashed. The proposed amendment is just a legal cover to
divest adivasis of the rights guaranteed by the Consititution
in order to pander to mining industries.
request you to respond to this urgent situation and write immediately
to the concerned authorities as a protest against such moves.
On the issue of Andhra bauxite, we, from Samata, have already
written to the MoEF and various other ministers in the state and
central governments. We
are giving below a copy of our letter as a reference for you to
frame similar letters of protest adding any other information
you may have with you.
Letter No 1
Please send this letter to:
The Chief Minister of A.P.
Secretariat Buildings, GoAP, Hyderabad
The Minister for Forests A.P
The Minister for Tribal Welfare A.P email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Buildings, GoAP, Hyderabad
The Minister for Forests GOI email: email@example.com
CGO Complex, New Delhi-110002
Minister for Tribal Welfare GOI email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shastri Bhawan New Delhi
The Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment GOI email:
The Regional CCF, MoEF, GOI, 4th Floor, E&F
Wings, Kendriya Sadan, Koramangala, Bangalore-34
Sub: - Objections to the proposed mining activity in Visakha
issue of permission for non forest activity against Forest Conservation
act , LTR Act
of 1959 and EP Act of 1986
1. We have come to know that Government Order of Andhra
Pradesh is considering grant of mining leases through Andhra Pradesh
Mining Development Corporation to some Foreign investors from
Dubai for mining Bauxite at the Following locations
in Visakha district.
Rakthakonda ML in Anantagiri-II RF, S.Kota Range
Galikonda Ml in Sunkarmetta RF, Araku R
Chittam Gondi ML in Muliyaguda RF, Araku R
2. According to the Project Proposals prepared by APMMD
Corporation the critical details are :
(a) Peak labor employment
(b) Expected waste/soil overburden
-- 17000 M.T/Annum
3. The areas proposed for mining are located in ecologically
fragile ecosystems and the mining activity would destroy large
tracts of virgin forest particularly in the Rakthakonda area.
The forests vary from small evergreen patches in valleys to moist
deciduous to dry deciduous tracts. The mining areas occur in top
plateau regions of steep hills. The steep hillslopes are clothed
with forests, and destruction of forest while laying approach
roads, movement of labor, and to meet daily needs of firewood
would lead to drastic changes in
micro-climate and erosion
of soil and the flooding of streams would follow as a chain reaction.
4. The mining area also falls in the catchment area of
Machkund and Sileru rivers and their tributaries and of Gosthani
and Sharada rivers. The Rakthakona mining area located at the
highest point of 1400 Mts. is the origin for over eight watersheds
feeding Sileru. Destruction of forests on these hills will have
serious adverse affect on the water flow in these watersheds.
5. The very mining areas in Rakthakonda are the bedding
sites of the remnant fields of Indian gaur in these hills. These
animals take shelter on these hilltops during day and go into
the valleys in daytime for food and water.
6. The mining areas of Galikonda and Chittiam Konda are
the home of one of the rarest endangared species of bird Athera
Blewitti (Blewitts forest spotted owlet). This was discovered
(after its last reported sighting 100 years back). In a recent
bird survey by Orissa birds and Biocultural survey party, besides
this rare find, the entire area from Sileru to Lammasingi to Paderu
and Aruku is an important bird area with relictual, endemic
birds (losps) and other 15 species of northern migratory birds.
7. In a recent seminar in Eastern Ghats Conservation (March
1988) considering its ecological importance and fragile nature,
the entire area was recommended for establishment of a Biosphere
8. The area is also home to several tribal populations
belonging to Bhagata, Khond, Konda Reddi, Samantha and other communities.
The founding fathers of our nation have provided special provisions
for their protection in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution
of India. Their special status has been reiterated in a landmark
judgement by the Supreme Court in Samata Versus State of Andhra
Pradesh in 1997.
In the majority decision of the Supreme Court in the Samata
case it has been held:
a. In the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Area Transfer Regulation,
1959 ‘person’ includes the State Government; and ‘transfer of
immovable property’ includes ‘the prospecting licenses and mining
b. All transfers of land belonging to the State Government
at any time in the past or present in “scheduled area of Andhra
Pradesh”, to non-tribals, and of mining leases/prospecting licenses
whensoever granted by the State Government in such areas
to non tribals were absolutely void and impermissible;
c. All mining operations in the scheduled areas of Andhra
Pradesh by industrialists may be stopped forthwith. The highest
court of the country has held that tribal rights take precedence
over all other considerations.
Bauxite is not one of the essential minerals for national progress.
We have enough
it for country's
needs. The present proposal is to feed foreign investors demand
and the states ever increasing demands for funds. Fragile areas
may be subjected to mining pressure if such minerals are of importance
to national survival or national security. The state cannot ride
roughshod over the cultures of primitive tribes and fragile ecosystems
to meet its insatiable demands for funds. 10,000 people belonging
to tribes will be uprooted because of this project and join the
over 50 million refugees from the countries development policies.
10. The best mining practices do have a serious repercussions
on the environment and people . Bauxite ore is confined to the
plateau tops. Once the stability of these tops is disturbed the
rate of erosion accelerates ten fold.
Mining is associated with deforestation and environmental
imbalance. In Open cast mines the damage is tenfold. mechanized
mining generates more of mine dust affecting the adjoining
forest species and crop plants through leaf encrustation, stomatal
plugging and solar radiation interruption leading to change in
radiation balance; this reduces the chlorophyll content which
in turn reduces the
total phytomass increasing
leaf injuries leading to necrosis or degeneration and death
of epidermal cells which are
most common. The topsoils are invariable mixed with overburden
resulting in burying of rich topsoil.
rainwater carrying the nutrient deficient overburden spreads over
adjoining slopes making them unfit for forest regeneration. Stunted
trees, crooked stems weakened vigor of seedlings are the result.
Because of constant trampling by labor and movement up vehicles
the area becomes hard and the hard soil prevents regeneration.
11. The adverse
changes in climate and micro-climate, increased libido, constant
air lead to a general degradation of the entire region to over
5 to 10 km radius. The
mining project will no doubt fill the pockets of the investor
and the democratic Government, the people’s government at
But the forests the people the rivers, the dams, the animals
and the crop lands will be condemned to slow and painful death,
flood, disease, poverty and loss of natural resources.
We request you to take all the above points into consideration
before any sanction of non forest activity is given in these pristine
areas, which only create chaos. We demand that the Government
should be transparent to provide all required information to the
would be affected people before any decision is taken. We once
again urge you to differ the proposed mining activity in the interest
of our Nation.
Letter No 2
write to the following in protest against the amendment to the
President of India
DELHI - 110004
Shri Atal Behari Vajpai
Prime Minister of India
PMO, South Block,
Raisina Hill, New Delhi, India-110 011.
91-11-3012312. Fax: 91-11-3019545 / 91-11-3016857.)
Shri Jual Oram
Minister for Tribal Welfare,
Phone No. 3387444
Shri Dilip Sing Bhuria
Comission of SC & ST
5th floor, Lok Nayak Bhavan
New Delhi 110003
The Secretary Ministry of Mines GOI,
A-Wing, 3rd Floor
Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi (India) - 110001
strongly protest against the secret moves being made by the government
to repeal/amend the Vth Schedule of the Indian Constitution as
a result of the Samatha Judgement of the Supreme Court nullifying
mining leases to industries in the scheduled
areas. (Note of 10th July 2000 (No.6/48/97-M.VI)
to the Committee of Secretaries by Ministry of Mines). This is
also with reference to the editorial article of The New Indian
Express dated 26.09.2000 - Displacement is Not the Issue. We are
extremely shocked that the government should even contemplate
such a move which is against the democratic, welfare, socialist
principles of the Constitution laid down by the founding fathers
of the Nation and which would result in total injustice to the
tribals of the country.
would, at one stroke, completely defeat the very intentions and
spirit of the V Schedule of the Constitution and open the floodgates
for unfettered alienation of adivasis from their land, water and
forests. In essence it spells virtual doom for the adivasis, as
the last measure of protection will be removed leaving them at
the mercy of an uncaring state and
ruthless commercial interests. It also exposes where and with
whom the government stands and we do not approve of the government
being pressurised by mere commercial lobbies. Rather than explore
ways and means to implement the directions of the court in the
Samata judgement in its enabling spirit and provisions especially
concerning the involvement of tribal co-operatives and profit
sharing, the secret MoM note only exposes how the Union Government
is actually searching for ways and means to nullify it or get
we demand that such moves should be immediately withdrawn by the
government and request that the government protect the interests
of the marginalised sections like the tribals and also the mineral
wealth of the country for long term