Deccan Chronicle

  • Rs 70 cr mineral royalty lost

    The State loses over Rs 70 crore every year because of the non-revision of royalty on minerals. However, companies extracting mineral ore have been making a killing in the market. According to the state government, it was the duty of the Centre to revise the royalty rates. But it had not done so. Officials of mines and geology department said the companies which take the mineral-rich areas on lease have been paying the same royalty since 2004. For instance, companies have been paying only Rs 11 to Rs 27 for each tonne of iron ore they extract. They sell it at Rs 2,500 per tonne in the open market. Over 75 million tonnes of iron ore is exported every year to various parts of the country from AP. Now, the government has asked the Centre to increase the royalty of iron ore to at least Rs 50 per tonne. The same is the case with limestone which is the raw material for cement factories. The cement companies pay a mere Rs 45 as royalty per tonne. Around 30 lakh metric tonnes of limestone is being mined every year. The royalty rates were fixed when a cement bag of 50 kg cost around Rs 130. Now the same quantity costs Rs 220 but the royalty rates have not been revised. The government has asked the Centre to enhance the royalty at least by 20 per cent on limestone. The department got Rs 1,250 crore as royalty on industrial minerals and another Rs 500 crore from other minerals. Mr V.D. Rajagopal, director of AP Mines and Geology department, told this correspondent that the state would benefit a lot if the union government revised royalty rates.

  • NREGS: 50,000 jobs to be given

    More than 50,000 people would benefit from the National Rural Employment Generation Scheme in East Godavari by March-end. Under this programme, works were carried out in 296 minor irrigation tanks in 29 mandals in the district. The district collector, Mr M. Subrahamanyam, carried out a review of the NREGS at the territorial development centre in Samarlakota on Monday. He asked officials to speed up the works in the remaining 148 irrigation tanks to meet the target fixed for NREGS. The collector also directed the designated Panchayat Raj and Indiramma programme engineers to observe all norms while taking up the works. Engineers should also carefully supervise completion of shutter repairs and strengthening of bunds, said Mr Subrahmanyam. The project director of District Water Management Agency, Mr R. Amarendra Kumar, and engineers of Panchayat Raj and NREGS participated.

  • Use job scheme, farmers told

    The district collector, Mr K. Devanand, on Friday asked rain-affected farmers to make good use of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) to harvest the remaining crop. The district collector said this while launching the programme in the fields of Allur village in Prakasam district. The biggest damage was suffered by the chickpea crop in the district and 5,392 acres were damaged in the sea-coast Kothapatnam mandal alone. Besides this, 2,400 acres of cultivated lands were damaged in Allur village. Mr Devanand said agriculture workers would be deputed for two days in chickpea fields and three days for tobacco harvesting.

  • Vigil along SRSP canals up

    Even as resentment is brewing among the farmers of the SRSP tail-end areas in Peddapalli division over the alleged denial of water supply, the SRSP officials have stepped up vigil in association with the police to prevent unauthorised tapping of water from the main canals in the division to ensure water to the tail-end areas. The aggrieved farmers of the tail-end areas of Dharmaram, Sultanabad, Velgatur and other mandals in Peddapalli division organised agitations in the last week demanding water supply to save their crops. They raised objections over the alleged illegal tapping of water by using the electricity pump-sets in the upstream areas of the main canals and sought action to check the menace. In this backdrop, the SRSP officials released water from the project into some of the reservoirs in an effort to cater to the water requirements of the farmers in the crucial rabi season. The officials have pressed into action special mobile teams along with the police to check illegal tapping of water from the main canals and other untoward incidents to ensure water supply to the tail-end areas. The farmers of the remote areas of Kamanpur mandal have joined the operation to ensure smooth flow of water without any hindrances. Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Kisan Morcha state president P. Sugunakar Rao demanded that the SRSP officials should convene a meeting of the elected representatives of the water users associations to chalk out a strategy to ensure equitable distribution of water to all the farmers up to the tail-end areas of the canals. He warned that the Morcha would launch an agitation if the authorities failed to initiate steps to supply water to the farmers, especially of the tail-end areas, to save their standing crops.

  • Review of Indira Sagar works

    West Godavari collector G. Jayalakshmi called for coordination among revenue and irrigation authorities to expedite land acquisition and rehabilitation works to complete the execution of Polavaram Indira Sagar project. Taking part in a review meeting on the progress of the project works here on Monday, she asked officials and agencies involved in the construction works to take up construction of houses to provide rehabilitation to project-affected persons. She said that the government argeted construction of 4,000 houses estimated to cost Rs 16 crore. The collector asked contracting agencies to supply iron, sand, cement, bricks and other required material to take up construction of houses and assured them that the government would pay the amount for supplying the material. The collector said land acquisition for the construction of project head works was almost compl-ete. She advised contracting agencies not to use delay in land acquisition as a pretext to delay the execution of the project. She dir-ected the executive engine-ers to come up with line sk-etches and other details of the project by February 27.

  • No BRTS in core city

    The commuters in the core city will not be able to enjoy the much-awaited Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) as it will cover only surrounding municipalities and not the core city. Inadequate road width, presence of numerous religious structures in carriage way, several steep curves and lack of other technical requirements have forced the government to abandon the BRTS project in core city. Another main reason for the BRTS project going to surrounding municipalities is fear of a major public outcry. A large number of private properties would be affected to create exclusive and dedicated carriage way for the project. The government has already taken a substantial number of private properties for widening of roads in core city and it does not want to invite public wrath by going for land acquisition again. The GHMC additional commissioner (transportation and traffic), Mr N.V.S. Reddy, told this correspondent that though some parts of core city would also be covered under the BRTS, the project lines would mainly run through the surrounding municipalities. The BRTS envisages high capacity and customer-friendly buses, with line segregation and central alignment for the movement of buses flanked by pedestrian and other vehicular corridors on the roads. There is high scope for widening of roads in surrounding municipalities. Not many properties would be affected and a major public transport infrastructure can be created before the density of population goes up in municipalities, another official said.

  • Tenders called for tail pond link canal project

    Tenders of one and four package of Dummugudem-Nagarjunasagar Project tail pond link canal, the first of its kind in the country in river linkage of Godavari and Krishna rivers, would be put online for e-procurement on February 27. The first package is an approach canal from zero to 6.5 km and water would be drawn from Godavari at the time of floods and it would be taken to the tail pond of Nagarjunasagar reservoir. Water would be drawn when the river crosses 52.5 feet and would be diverted through 6.5 km length approach canal on gravity. There is no need for lifting it to the point. The contracts would be called on engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) system. Though the engineers of the project evolved a plan for the packages on behalf of the government the companies which obtained the tenders have to submit fresh engineering, procurement and construction plans for the packages of the project. As a result, the cost may be reduced or increased as per the approved plan. The fourth package is for constructing a pump house for 20,000 cusecs and digging a canal from 38.5 km to 48 km. The project officials planned to call the tenders on February 21 but it was postponed to February 27 to finalise the cost of the two packages. Officials are tight-lipped about the cost of the project, but sources said that the two packages would cost Rs 550 crore. The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 8,930 crore and the project work would be divided into more than 18 packages. Water can be drawn only during floods.

  • Bauxite mining: Parties threaten to prevent survey

    Political parties and tribals who have been agitating against bauxite mining are planning to block scientists of the Indian Council of Forest Research and Environment when they come for a survey. It is learnt that the scientists would visit the Agency areas soon to undertake a mining impact survey. This is mandatory to get permission for mining in a forest area from the ministry of environment and forests. The proposed mining project would displace tribals in large numbers and has also evoked sharp protests from environmentalists who warn that it would have a negative ecological impact.

  • High growth predicted for aqua sector

    Fish and allied products' development, particularly crab culture, is on the rise with farmers more inclined to take this up, after aqua culture in the country. In addition, export of fish of octopus and jellyfish variety has also increased in the last few years as it has a good market in the south-east Asian countries. Participating in the inauguration of a molecular biology lab at the Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE), Dr S. Ayyappan, deputy director general (DDG) of ICAR (fisheries), New Delhi, revealed details on Monday.

  • Farmers complain against cement factories

    Farmers belonging to several villages complained to the district collector against the managements of cement factories being set up on their lands at the praja darbar held in the Collectorate on Monday. In a memorandum submitted to the collector, Mr Eddula Chennaiah, a farmer from Madhavaravam village of Pyapili mandal alleged that cement companies were forcibly occupying their land in the village.

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