Mining depletes water levels in Nagulakonda

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Kakinada: Many water sources and groundwater levels have been depleted in Nagulakonda of Eastern Ghats, which spreads from Visakhapatnam to East Godavari, due to mining activity.

Thousands of tribals and farmers depend on this water for sustenance and livelihood. But, due to mining activity in the Vanthada area, they have completely lost their ‘Podu’ cultivation of 1,000 acres.

In 2003, the state government had allowed laterite mining in Vanthada hills in Prathipadu and Eleswaram mandals, despite objections raised by environmentalists.

“The waterfalls during rains were responsible for filling up of many water tanks such as Subbareddy Sagar, Thimmaraju tank, Bigh and small tanks, Dharmavaram, Kodavali tank, Tatiparti Tan, Dan-taluru, Simhadripuram, Prathipadu and other tanks. But, due to laterite mining, the water levels in many tanks have dipped, as rainwater directly flows into the Bay of Bengal. As a result, groundwater levels are also being depleted in the area,’’ said K. Rajendra, coordinator of voluntary organisation Srujana.

The Mines, Minerals and People (MM&P) is studying adverse impact in the Eastern Ghats due to mining activity. “The flora and fauna have vanished. According to the people of the area and also biologists, thousands of medicinal plants have withered away due to the mining activity,’’ said MM&P member D. Harika.

Ms Harika said she would submit a report to the Union government on the pathetic ecological condition of the Eastern Ghats. She also said many tribal people lost their livelihood due to vanishing of non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as tamarind, shikakai, soap nuts, honey products and others in the vicinity of the area.

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