The ADR report from 2018-19 show YSRCP receiving donation of Rs. 9.5 Crores from the mining company Andru Minerals
The Government of Andhra Pradesh responded to Ex-IAS officer EAS Sharma’s claims of laterite mining in East Godavari and dismissed the claims. Interestingly, Andru Minerals were the highest donors to YSR Congress party. The ADR reports released in 2018-19 show Andru Minerals donated an amount of Rs. 9.5 Crores to the YSRCP. This has led to the fingers being raised against the ruling party for possible favours to the mining company. In addition to this, the YSRCP’s Submission of Contribution Report for FY 2018-19 shows contribution amounting Rs. 1.5 Cr by Andru family members. The Andru family has made a total of Rs. 11 Cr contribution to YSRCP.
In 2013, The Government of Andhra Pradesh under Kiran Kumar Reddy, The then Congress Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh granted eight leases for laterite mining to Andru Minerals under the names of A Usha Rani, A Srinivas, APK Satyavathi, A Ramesh Babu, A Sujatha, M. Venkateshwara Rao, Vempati Veerraju, M Venkata Rajini for 20 years. Which is the minimum duration for a mining lease agreement?
The Successive governments did not object to the mining activities of the Andru group even if there were several allegations of Air pollution, Water pollution in the nearby villages. Mining beyond the limits, Andru group was caught several times for transporting more than the specified limits by them as for a lorry dedicated to carrying 20 tonnes they transported 27-28 Tonnes. However, continued the mining activity.
This issue got the traction after the letter from EAS Sharma former energy secretary seeking an independent investigation by Anti-corruption Bureau and Special Enforcement Directorate (SEB) into the alleged illegal mining in West Godavari and Vishakhapatnam Districts in his letter to Karikal Valevan, Special chief secretary to Government, Industries and Commerce department.
Ex-IAS officer EAS Sharma, who opposed Chandra Babu Naidu’s move of issuing Amaravathi Bonds now warned the government about how the miners are mining Bauxite in the guise of Laterite. According to the Indian Bureau of Mines, any aluminous mineral with 30% or more aluminium is defined as Bauxite. He added that miners in collaboration with the local mining department officials were producing false analysis certificate showing the Bauxite produced by them as Laterite and exporting to Aluminium refineries.
In 2015, Union Minister for Mines Narendra Singh Tomar passed a law amending Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 1957 by bringing mines of 10 minerals including iron ore and Bauxite comes under the purview of the central government and will be allocated to miners only through auction.
Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, Minister for Mines in the State, said there is no truth in the claims and the government had sent the sample for chemical analysis to find if it is Laterite or Bauxite and mining activity was halted between July 2019 and May 2020. He said, in the mining report it was found out that the ore is Aluminium Laterite and legal opinion was sought if it is in the purview of state and if the leaseholders can be allowed to resume the works.
Andru Minerals in its press release, rejecting the claims said that Laterite is used only by the cement companies, and neither sent to Vedanta group nor exported to other countries. The company, in their statement, dismissed the presence of Laterite deposits in the area of lease. They further said that the then state government wrote a letter to the central government in January 2019 seeking clarity on whether the mines are of Laterite or Bauxite, and only after the clarification from the central government, they resumed mining recently.