Hyderabad: The proposal to search for uranium through exploratory drilling in Amrabad Tiger Reserve in the Nallamala forests of Telangana appears to be headed nowhere with the State Forest Department practically making it clear that the proposal might be a no go.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests R Sobha said Uranium Corporation of India Limited was asked to provide specific details of locations and machinery needed for the exploratory drilling, and that heavy equipment would not be allowed into the forest, which will require felling of trees and laying of fresh roads.
Meanwhile, TRS MLA from Achampet, Guvvala Balaraju, on Saturday said, “No permissions were given for uranium mining in the Nallamalas by the TRS government. Our leadership does not believe in taking decisions that are against the interest of the people. We will fight against the Centre on any uranium mining proposals”.
There was no truth in the allegations by Congress that the State government permitted exploratory drilling for uranium in Amrabad Tiger Reserve and Nallamala forests, he told reporters at Media Point in the Legislative Assembly complex.
A large portion of the tiger reserve land sought by Uranium Corporation of India Limited, to conduct exploratory drilling, falls in Balaraju’s constituency. The MLA, also a Government Whip, said the online ‘Save Nallamala campaign’ by NGOs, individuals concerned about environmental protection and intelligentsia found widespread support. “The tweet by TRS working president and IT Minister KT Rama Rao in support of the campaign gave us a lot of strength,” he said.
Balaraju also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the number of tigers in the Nallamala forests, which is home to Amrabad Tiger Reserve, the largest such reserve in the country. He also reminded that previously, when there was talk about mining for diamonds in the forest, his party strongly opposed it and leaders, including former MP K Kavitha, expressed their opposition to any move that would impact the forest and people living in the forest villages.
“Congress is only trying to incite people in the guise of opposition to uranium mining. The people of Achampet understand this and are with TRS on this issue,” he said.
Akbaruddin’s passionate plea
Akbaruddin Owaisi, AIMIM floor leader in the Assembly, on Saturday made a passionate plea for protecting the Amrabad Tiger Reserve and Nallamala forests. During his speech on the annual budget, Owaisi said: “I would like to speak briefly about a matter very dear to my heart. I strongly oppose uranium mining in the Nallamalas. There are 22 tigers in Amrabad Tiger Reserve in addition to 100 leopards. Seventy eight thousand people live in 43 villages, which will be affected if mining is allowed”.