Nalgonda Uranium Mining, Andhra Pradesh, India

Description

Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) plans Uranium mining project in Lambapur and Peddagutta villages in P.A. Pally mandal of Nalgonda district in Andhra Pradesh. It is estimated that there are an estimated 11.02 million tonnes of uranium reserves spread over 1,326 acres, including a part of the Rajiv Gandhi Tiger reserve sanctuary. The proposal to set up a hydro-metallurgical plant was reportedly accepted by a high-level technical committee [1]. The Andhra Pradesh government announced that the government supports that the proposed mining of uranium and setting up of a refinery plant in Nalgonda district. Government also assured in the state legislative Assembly that all environmental safeguards would be taken before giving the final permission [2] The announcement made by the government drew criticism from members of all the Opposition parties. This includes Telegu Dedham Party and the Left Parties. Opposing the proposed uranium mining, the members expressed the apprehension that radioactive material would contaminate Krishna river water and expose people in the surrounding areas as well as those living in Hyderabad to serious health hazards [2]. It may be noted that the proposed mines are just 1 km from human habitation, hardly 10 km from Nagarjunsagar dam and barely 4 km from Akkampalli reservoir [4] It is observed that there are traces of uranium content were at much higher levels in Osman Sagar (5.8 micro grams per litre), Himayat Sagar (7.8 micro grams per litre) and Hussain Sagar (20.0 micro grams per litre) than in the Nagarjuna Sagar dam where the level is within the limits at 2 micro grams per litre as prescribed by the Atomic Energy Commission [1]. Experts charge the UCIL is not careful about the possible contamination of water bodies located in the area. Even the citizens of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, who have been drinking water from Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar lakes would have been more prone to radiation-related hazards than the people of Nalgonda [1].

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Basic Data
NameNalgonda Uranium Mining, Andhra Pradesh, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceAndhra Pradesh
SiteVillage : Tummalapalle, District-Kadappa; Village-Lambapur, District- Nalgonda
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Nuclear
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Tailings from mines
Uranium extraction
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) will mine uranium in four villages -- Tummalapalle, Mabbu Chintalapalle, Bhoomayyagaripalle and Rachakuntapalle -- in Pulivendula assembly constituency, about 70 km from Kadapa town. It also wants a tailings pond for waste in K K Kottalu village, 6 km from these mines. The cost of the project is Rs 1,029.57 crore. A total of 45.48 million tonnes of uranium reserves with 0.0407 per cent of U 308 uranium were identified in this area a decade ago. Since UCIL was busy with the Paddagattu-Lambapur project in Nalgonda district initially, it did not pay much attention to the Kadapa project. But after Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) denied clearance to the Nalgonda project, UCIL set its sights on Pulivendula. [3,5 ]
Project Area (in hectares)537
Level of Investment (in USD)$14,156,870,922 (Rs 1,029.57 crore)
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2003
Company Names or State EnterprisesUranium Corporation of India Limited from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Government of India
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSamriti, Forum for Better Hyderabad and mines, minerals & People (mmP), Political parties, TDP, and CPI (M), Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and MIM registered their protest against the proposed operations.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Development of AlternativesThe protestors demanded an Environmental Impact Assessment Study to be carried out on the project and public opinion taken before any further decision was announced by the Government. There was an urgent need for a debate on the hazards of uranium extraction project. The protestors demanded that the Government should make available all information pertaining to the project. It should be transparent in sharing this information, particularly with the local communities [1]
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Rich mineral deposits which were considered a boon for tribals have become their bane. Tribals have been displaced, their lands taken away and culture destroyed. Worse, the hazardous radiations have played havoc with their health and the flora and fauna producing genetic defects that could span several generations [1] Now after the announcement of proposed mining the people of Nalgonda have every right to know what is in store for them. Trying to push through this project in the name of national interests would be unfair [1]

A public hearing conducted by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) for environmental clearance at the 300-household village, Tummalapalle, on September 10, 2006 turned out to be a farce hundreds of people from the four affected villages who opposed the project were chased away from the venue. Rapid Action Force personnel were deployed in force since the morning along all routes leading to the venue to scare away protestors [3]

In 2006 while answering a debate raised in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly regarding the the concerns of the local people about contamination of the river and possible health hazards to the people of the surrounding areas, Sabita Reddy, minister for mining and geology, said the location of the proposed operations had been shifted 22 km farther from the original site, which was near the historic Nagarjuna Sagar dam. Government also assured that the 40 stringent norms imposed by the Government of India on UCIL operations in Naglonda district before it accorded its permission would be strictly followed, the minister said, adding the state government was also studying the report submitted by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board on the project [2]
Sources and Materials
Legislations

The Mines and Mineral(Regulation and Development) Act, 1957
[click to view]

Draft Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011
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National Mineral Policy (NMP) 2008
[click to view]

References

Uranium Mining in Nalgonda, by Uma Maheshwari (R.)


[click to view]

Creating Penny-Rich Landless, by RU Maheshwari
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Links

[1] Plans to take up uranium mining in Nalgonda draw flak
[click to view]

[2] Andhra govt backs uranium mining in Nalgonda
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[3] Andhra uranium mining project gives locals short shrift
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[4] Public outcry greets uranium mining project in AP
[click to view]

[5] New Uranium Mining Centres in Andhra Pradesh: A Perspective
[click to view]

Massive uranium deposits found in Andhra Pradesh
[click to view]

Protests hold up uranium mining projects in Andhra, Meghalaya
[click to view]

Plans to take up uranium mining in Nalgonda draw flak
[click to view]

Media Links

Nalgonda residents protest against Uranium mining (in Telegu)
[click to view]

Buddha Weeps in Jaduguda Jharkhand
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update03/05/2014
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