Rajendra Singh spoke to adivasis in the area, who have been protesting for months against alleged illegal granite mining in Visakhapatnam district.

Cancel mining leases near Kalyanavapulova reservoir Indias Waterman visits APImage by arrangement
news Environment Monday, July 01, 2019 - 09:56

Well-known environmentalist and activist Rajendra Singh, popularly known as ‘Waterman of India’, visited the catchment area of the Kalyanapulova reservoir in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam district on Sunday.

Rajendra Singh spoke to adivasis in the area, who have been protesting for months against alleged illegal granite mining in the region. Singh, a Magsaysay Award winner, was accompanied by Jal Biradari national convenor Bolisetty Satyanarayana and National Secretary of All India Agriculture and Rural Workers’ Union P S Ajay Kumar among others.

The visit was part of Singh's three-day ‘Uttarandhra tanks, reservoirs, water bodies: rejuvenation yatra.'

“Mining companies are already operating heavy trucks, carrying tons of loads and it is shocking to see how the state government is allowing such operations on the sensitive embankment. Mining operations generate tons of debris and allowing mining operations in the sensitive reserve forest ecosystem will destroy the area. One mining company has already blocked the perennial stream that feeds the dam,” Rajendra Singh was quoted as saying.

The Kalyanapulova reservoir, built in 1978, was one of the first medium irrigation projects in the region, with a large command area that includes 9 major panchayats downstream. The reservoir ensures irrigation water to around 10,000 acres, besides making sure that several Adivasi hamlets in the region have drinking water.

However, the tribals in the area point out that the reservoir has almost dried up now, due to indiscriminate granite mining in the hills of the Eastern Ghats, where they reside. As a result, the groundwater levels have plummeted and their crops have been failing.

The Adivasis also allege that the mining companies have blocked several hill streams, cutting off the inflow channels to the reservoir.

Earlier this month, after a sustained protest by locals and activists, the state's Irrigation Department, in an internal communication, stated that the mining companies failed to obtain the pre-requisite permission to begin mining activity in the region.

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