Janasena Party president K Pawan Kalyan and several Congress leaders, including former MP V Hanumantha Rao, on Monday asked all parties in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to collectively oppose the proposed uranium mining in the state’s Amrabad Tiger Reserve.
The reserve is spread across Nallamalla forests in the state.
Kalyan said that uranium mining would generate radon, a product of radioactive decay of uranium, which can cause lung cancer and kidney problems.
Rao called Kalyan at the JanaSena Party office in Hyderabad on Monday and sought his support. “People of two Telugu states will be affected because of uranium mining and Krishna water will get polluted. The uranium polluted water is particularly harmful to pregnant women. The Chenchu tribes living in the forest have already brought the issue to JanaSena Party’s notice,’’ Kalyan said.
He said the party will discuss with scientists and environmentalists how Krishna river water may get polluted and what are the health implications of drinking water contaminated with radon. “An all-party meeting on the ill-effects of uranium mining will be organised,” Kalyan said. Rao said uranium mining is a serious issue for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. “Due to effluents generated from uranium processing being discharged in the Krishna river, people from the two Telugu states would face serious health issues. The bio-diversity of Nallamala would be affected and the animals would face life-threat,” he said.
Why forest officials oppose survey
Three of four blocks in which the Department of Atomic Energy has approved survey and drilling of boreholes are in the core tiger protection area. An inspection report by Amrabad Tiger Reserve’s field director has opposed the proposed exploration and drilling at the site. “...flora and fauna will be adversely affected and a lot of disturbance will be caused for wildlife...” the report states.
Telangana forest officials are also opposing the permission granted to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to survey and explore the area.
Despite strong objections from forest officers and wildlife activists, however, the Centre accorded in-principle approval to mining on May 22. The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), DAE, had submitted a proposal to survey and drill boreholes in four blocks of the reserve.
Three of the four blocks are inside the core tiger protection area known as Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary within the Amrabad Tiger Reserve.
The agency plans to drill more than 4,000 holes.
“The aim is to establish uranium deposits in these areas,” the DAE said in its proposal.