Skip to main content

Reduce mining area, set aside 26 per cent profit for affected people in the new bill, demands MM&P

By Our Representative
Mines, Minerals & People (MM&P), a national alliance of over 200 mining affected communities and support groups, has taken strong exception to a new provision in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, which seeks to increase the area limits for license and mining lease, without specifying any ceiling. The current ceiling is 10 km.
Saying that this would spell "a death-knell for people living in mineral rich regions", MM&P insists, "Even developed mining economies like Australia are reducing mining lease areas to avoid non-mineralised zones in lease areas. In Australia, maximum lease area allowed was 10 square km till 2006 and now it is limited to the area of ore bodies in a prospected site plus infrastructure for mineral concession."
The Bill, passed in the Lok Sabha and awaiting Rajya Sabha nod, is before Parliament's select committee for review. MM&P president Ravi Rebbapragda and general secretary Ashok Shrimali, a Gujarat-based activist, are seeking intervention by committee members not to allow the bill to be passed in Parliament in its current form. The bill seeks to convert a recently-promulgated ordinance by the Government of India.
Also taking exception to the proposal to set up a District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in the Bill, the MM&P says, with this, "the social commitment towards development of affected communities has been significantly watered down." It adds, "It represents moving away from the concept of benefit sharing", which was there in earlier versions of June 2010 Bill, which allowed "provision of granting 26 per cent ownership".
In fact, according to MM&P, "the MMDR bill is completely silent on obtaining consent from the communities before mining operations are initiated especially in tribal regions", demanding, "All applications for mining concessions should be put before the Gram Sabha. As a practice, Gram Sabha should be convened to discuss the proposals and accept objections for at least 30 days thereafter."
MM&P further objects to extending the duration of a mining lease to 50 years. "This would affect effective and strict scrutiny. This will have serious implications to intergenerational equity. Ideally the duration of lease should be 10 years with provisions for renewal only on strict compliance", it believes. Till now, a mining lease was allowed for a maximum of 30 years and a minimum of 20 years that could be renewed for 20 years.
Then, MM&P says, the bill "does not include definitions of affected persons and reasonable compensation", says MM&P, adding, there is a need to clearly define ‘affected persons’ that captures "the social, cultural and environmental impacts. It should not only include people losing lands to a mining project, but also people whose livelihood is affected." And, the compensation amount should be linked to inflation.
These changes are needed, according to MM&P, because the states "richest" in mineral resources are also amongst India’s poorest. "Chhattisgarh’s mineral contribution to GDP is 12 per cent but it reports the second highest incidence of poverty amongst all Indian states (47 per cent), after Bihar. "An estimated 1.64 lakh of forestland has been diverted; 90 per cent of India’s coal and 80 per cent of other minerals are found in areas inhabited by tribals".

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

J&K Governor's rule: BJP's "failure" to go ahead with 44-plus strategy

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues to witness cataclysm of events ever since the killing of editor-in-chief of “Rising Kashmir”, Shujaat Bukhari, followed by the BJP’s deliberated parting of ways with its coalition partner, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and imposition of Governor rule.

NTPC's "poor" track record on workers' safety, whether permanent or on contract

Counterview Desk
A recent report, “The Dark Side of NTPC: A Critical Look at the Social and Environmental Footprints of NTPC”, traces the performance of one of the four Navaratnas which also happens to be a Fortune 500 company, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), pointing out that, while it has played, for over four decades, “pivotal role” in India’s quest for development, this development was energy intensive and has caused “a plethora of negative impacts to people, environment and sustainability over the years.”