Thursday, October 01, 2015

Madhya Pradesh mining children: Activists get together to work out grassroots community action plan

By Our Representative
Madhya Pradesh’s senior activists have taken strong exception to deteriorating plight of the children of the mining areas, pointing towards how the people’s displacement has adversely affected their schooling at a large number of spots. Following a meeting of around 50 activists in Bhopal, a representation met state government officials to apprise them of the problem of mining children.
During the meeting – which took place at Hotel Palash Residency – the activists released a well-documented book in Hindi on the condition of mining children in Madhya Pradesh. It was handed over by a delegation of activists to Madhya Pradesh education minister Umashankar Dixit.
The activists particularly told the minister about the adverse impact of mining of the children in the Panna Tiger Reserve, where a school had been closed down on orders of the education department.
The book points to how children across India are growing up in and around the areas where mining is conducted and how mining has affected their lives, directly or indirectly. “It is these children who we refer to as mining children”, the book underlines.
“Somehow, the concerns relating to children tend to get overlooked by groups working in these areas on the issue of mining. On the other hand, groups working on children also have very little understanding on mining and its impact on children”, the book says.
The book points to a study conducted by HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children, and Samata titled “India’s Childhood in the Pits: A report on the Impacts of Mining on Children in India, which has provided a glimpse into the lives of children living, working, affected and exploited by mining in India.
The book talks of “the strong need to bring in groups working with children and those on mining issues together to work on these connected issues”, something for which HAQ and Samata have worked in six states over the last three years.” The book provides a community resource guide to impart legal training to activists.
“During our field activities in Uttar Pradesh, we realized that the scary boom in mining activities in the state has only given risen to further human rights violations, especially child right’s violations”, the book says. Among those who released the Hindi book were Sachinkumar Jain, Rakesh Diwan and Ashok Shrimali, leading members of people’s organizations at the meeting.
Earlier, HAQ and Samata had released a similar book an English book with a community resource guide on mining children. The participants at the meet later viewed the film, “Falling Through the Cracks: Children in Mining”, directed by Shibani Choudhury. The film has been screened quite a few times in Delhi.

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