Well-known environmentalist Rajendra Singh, who has been dubbed as the 'Waterman of India,' will visit Kalyanapulova reservoir in Andhra Pradesh on June 30. This, after several reports, including those by TNM, highlighted the issue of indiscriminate granite mining in a tribal region in Visakhapatnam district.
Rajendra, a Magsaysay Award winner, will interact with the tribal community who live in the reservoir’s catchment area and farmers who reap the benefits of the water in the dam's command area.
After interacting with locals, he will address the media and is also likely to take up the issue with the state government.
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.
"The Water Resources Department has not given any permission or any No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the above quarry leases. The above quarry sites are in the Kalyanapulova Reservoir Catchment area. The distance from this water body to the quarries above varies from four to five km," a departmental report stated.