The Hindu | Sumit Bhattacharjee | 09 Feb, 2022
Activity picks up at plant, power plant trial run held
Anrak Aluminium Limited (AAL) which was set up in 2014 with an investment of around ₹6,000 crore at Rachapalle in Makavarapalem mandal of Visakhpatnam district, is yet to go into production. The plant was set up with an installed capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year, but with the cancellation of G.O. 97 by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government and the company failing to get a linkage for bauxite ore, the operation of the plant has been stalled. Now there are strong rumours that the company is gearing up to start production and it is learnt that initially February 5 was the date given but it had to be postponed to a later date.
Initially, G.O. 97 had given permission to the plant to mine bauxite ore in Gudem and Chintapalle block in Visakhapatnam Agency, and the mining was to be done by the A.P. Mineral Development Corporation in the reserve forest area. But due to stiff resistance from the tribals who followed the Niyamgiri model of agitation, the YSRCP government had cancelled the G.O., sticking to its election promise. AAL, a joint venture between Penna Group and Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), has been waiting since then to establish a bauxite linkage and start production.
Sources say that it has been importing bauxite ore from abroad and building up its stock. It is also learnt that AAL is going the Vedanta way that has an alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha. After Vedanta failed to get its linkage from Niyamgiri due to the resistance, it had established linkages from other States such as Rajasthan and Gujarat. Sources say that apart from importing bauxite, AAL is also planning to take one mine from Vedanta on lease to establish domestic linkage. However, no AAL official could be contacted for confirmation.
Sources say that a railway line is being laid from Bayyavaram in Kasimkota mandal to Makavarapalem, along with a siding to unload bauxite.
Hinting that something is on at the company, a few employees confirmed that hectic maintenance activity was on and the trial run of the power plant has been conducted successfully.
Ravi Rebbapragada of Samata, who was the architect of the Samata Judgement, based on which mining in the Fifth Schedule area by private parties was banned, said, “We do not mind if AAL imports bauxite or takes a mine on lease in some other State, but it cannot mine in Fifth Schedule areas.”