Hyderabad, April 21 (IANS) Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Sunday vowed not to allow transport of iron ore mines from Telangana for Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, saying these mineral resources should be used only for the region’s development.
TRS, which is fighting for separate statehood to Telangana, is strongly opposed the government move allocating iron ore from Bayyaram in Khammam district for Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, located in coastal city Visakhapatnam in Andhra region.
TRS chief and MP K. Chandrasekhara Rao demanded that a steel plant be set up in Khammam or Warangal districts of Telangana. He said the region had all the resources like iron ore, water and the capacity to generate electricity for the steel factory.
Claiming that Telangana has the first right on iron ore produced in the region, the MP from Mahabubnagar told reporters here that he would send a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding the setting up steel plant.
He said one crore signatures would also be sent to the central government in support of the demand.
Meanwhile, a team of TRS leaders led by its leader in the state assembly E. Rajender visited Bayyaram on Sunday an asked the government to withdraw the order, allocating the ore from Bayyaram mines.
“We will not allow iron ore to be taken from here at any cost,” Rajender told reporters.
The TRS leader pointed out that the steel plants are usually set up in area having iron ore deposits. He said Telangana has the first right over its natural resources.
The iron ore mines usually referred as Bayyaram mines are spread over 2,500 hectares in Bayyaram of Khammam district, 2500 hectares in Warangal district and 324 hectares in Karimnagar district
Telangana leaders of parties like Telugu Desam and the Communist Party of India (CPI) are also opposing the allocation of Bayyaram mines to VSP.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, however, has that VSP would set up an integrated steel plant in Khammam. He told a delegation of TDP leaders that an announcement to this effect would be made after Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), as the VSP is also known, and Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) submit a feasibility report.
The TRS is not convinced. Its leaders point out that out of 35,000 employees in VSP, only 4,000 are from Telangana.
In February 2009, then chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy had allotted mining lease for Bayyaram mines to Rakshana Steels, a company allegedly promoted his evangelist son-in-law Anil Kumar.
The government last year cancelled the lease following allegations that Rajasekhara Reddy violated all rules and that his family resorted to large-scale loot of state’s minerals.
The APMDC had entered into a joint venture with Rakshana Steels to mine barytes and iron ore. Under the deal, Rakshana Steels also planned to set up an integrated steel plant with an investment of Rs.500 crore.