Uranium Mining in Nallamala Hills Poses Threat to Amrabad Tiger Reserve and the Locals
The Indian government is striving to fulfill its quest for uranium deposits to meet India’s nuclear power goals. The central government aims to generate 40,000 megawatts of nuclear power by the year 2030, which is 6,780 megawatts as of now. And to achieve that goal, the government has been exploring uranium deposits all over the country.
A few years back, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was instructed to survey and explore uranium in state of Andhra Pradesh. DAE found a considerable amount of uranium in the forests of Nalgonda district, Telangana and in few locations in Andhra.
The uranium belt is spread through the country’s 2nd largest Amrabad Tiger Reservoir and Nagarjunasager dam. Extraction of uranium deposits from the area poses a great threat to the wildlife and water reserves of the dam, which is a primary drinking water source for the state.
When DAE received orders to survey and explore uranium over 83 sq. km of Telangana’s Amrabad Tiger Reserve, the protests began. The environmentalists and the locals have been protesting against the government’s decision to dig up the area and destroy the natural heritage of the state.
On August 16, 2019, Telangana Congress demanded to reverse state government’s order of proposed uranium mining in Nallamala Hills. People are agitated and are continuously protesting as the mining process will contaminate the water of Krishna River and uproot the Chenchu Tribe and Amrabad Tiger Reserve.
Chenchu tribe is an aboriginal tribe that lives the traditional way of life by hunting and gathering and it is considered to be one of the first tribe’s of the country. At present, there are 430 families residing in the thick forest zone of Nallamala Hills.
The government is so blinded by its goal of increasing country’s uranium reserves in order to become a nuclear power, that it can’t even see the damage that mining in these forests will cause. The forests of Nallamala are home to vast variety of flora and fauna. It houses tigers, panthers, sloth-bears, wild-dogs, foxes, jungle cats, wolves, nilgai, spotted deer, variety of reptiles and birds.
The mines in these forests will destroy the rich bio-diversity and contaminate the environment. The radiocarbon waste generated in the mining process would be a threat, as it will pollute the surroundings and endanger flora and fauna of the area besides affecting the health of locals adversely.
Environmentalists question the conscience of the authorities, which are so hell-bent upon excavating the uranium that they have been violating so many human rights and wildlife laws.
They also slammed the living example of Bhopal Gas Tragedy case in the face of officials. Many lost their lives in the heartbreaking incident and those who lived are still having many physical and mental disabilities.
Sadly, the greed for uranium could take the same route to destruction.
The locals are furious at the orders of government and they are ready to fight if need be. For them, it is worse than dying; they do not wish to be separated from their lands and way of living, as their predecessors have lived the same way. Unfortunately, their pleas are going unheard and the government is still persistent in digging up the forests for uranium deposits.
These actions are very disturbing and need immediate attention of the citizens and the authorities. Given the dire need of protection of forests for sustaining earth, we should not be uprooting trees and the people living inside forest zones.
Instead of tarnishing the environment with radiocarbon waste, contaminating the water sources and putting the lives of people in jeopardy, the Indian government must find such alternative energy resources that will not harm the eco-system.
Via: The Hans India