The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday said that it would be collecting a ‘green tax’ besides imposing a ban on single use plastic. On the same day, it also cancelled the bauxite mining lease in about 1,520 hactares in Jarella of Chintapalli agency area in Visakhapatnam district, given to the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) for a period of 30 years.
Taking a serious view of growing pollution levels and its impact, chief minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, during a review meeting with Forest and Environment department, said that about one lakh tonnes of waste is being generated from pharma companies, but only 30% of it is being refined.
Reddy directed department officials to prepare a proposal within one month to promote protection of environment and prevention of pollution, and also asked them to study and observe various steps taken by other countries in preserving the environment. A press release from his office said that to keep a check on pollution by industrial houses, the state will collect ‘green tax’ from them.
The chief minister also took a serious view of the pollution levels in Visakhapatnam city. “The pollution levels in Visakhapatnam are very high. It should be prevented immediately, if not there will be severe consequences," he said, according to the release. Reddy also stated that every government and private hospital should have a waste management department.
“Today, AP stands in first position in the country in exporting huge amount of sea products. The current pollution control board should be purified. At the same time industries should not be affected," Reddy said. The review meeting also discussed among other issues, the ways and means to increase forest land.
The government order (GO) on the cancellation of bauxite mining lease stated that ‘the Government hereby revokes the mining lease grant for bauxite in Jarrela of Cintapalli RF (reserve forest), Ananthagiri and Araku of Visakhapatnam district given in favour of Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) for a period of 30 years’.
The AP government had earlier granted a 30-year lease for mining bauxite in the agency area through three separate GOs and in the terms of reference has stated that the mining should be carried out after taking necessary clearances.
The two-year period for starting the work ended in January 2017, said the release, and further added that the terms of the agreement could not be fructify on account of impossibility of performance due to recurring acts of violence in the area because opposition to the prospect of mining in tribal areas, said a separate press release from the AP government on Thursday.
“The public opinion and mood of the locals was against the mining of bauxite in tribal areas and the work did not commence due to violence and other untoward incidents. The mining lease was in various parts of the agency area to APMDC which in turn had singed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with private parties but could not carry out the task," it said.
Deputy chief minister for Tribal Welfare Pushpa Srivani expressed her gratitude to Jagan Mohan Reddy for keeping up his word (before the 2019 state elections) and banning bauxite mining in the tribal areas.