Tribals take aim at Araku MLA

Tribal people from the Agency areas of the district staged a protest under the banner of Girijana Sangham, demanding cancellation of a mining lease allegedly obtained by Araku Telugu Desam MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao in the name of his brother-in-law B. Rajendra, at the Gandhi statue here on Monday.

The tribal people, some of them in their traditional attire with bows and arrows, alleged that the lease secured by Mr. Sarveswara Rao for quarrying of black stone on 2.9 hectares at Kulapadu of Hukumpeta mandal in 2008 was in violation of rules.

Mr. Sarveswara Rao had obtained the licence without the approval of the grama sabha by forging the signatures of the members, they alleged.

Sangham leaders P. Appalanarsa and Killo Surendra and CPI(M) district committee secretary K. Lokanadham said that the MLA started blasting the black stone soon after obtaining the lease.

They alleged that the leaseholder was indulging in rig blasting after drilling for 100 metres in violation of the rules. This was resulting in houses of tribal people developing cracks in Guda village. The villagers were suffering from respiratory disorders, and skin and kidney diseases. Rice, coffee and other crops being cultivated in about 300 acres in the vicinity of the quarry were also affected.

‘Yet to pay penalty’

The government had issued a notice to the MLA in 2016 directing him to pay Rs. 4.20 crore as penalty for quarrying outside the permit area but he had not responded till date, they said and alleged that the MLA was trying to terrorise those who were opposing the illegal quarrying.

They demanded that grama sabhas be held immediately and the licences issued to Mr. Sarveswara Rao cancelled, failing which the agitation would be intensified.

YSR Congress Party leader from Araku, Phalguna, and Jana Sena Party (JSP) representative Anand Yesu also participated in the protest.

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