Skip to main content

Gujarat minor mineral rules "ignore" farmers' and tribals' rights: People's groups represent to government

By Our Representative
The new draft Gujarat Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 2016, seeks to give unfettered powers to “reserve any area not already held under any mineral concession for undertaking mining operations”, allowing these to to be taken by a government company or corporation owned or controlled by it” for mining.
It says, the only obligation for the government would be to issue a notification in the Official Gazette, specifying “the boundaries of such area and the mineral or minerals in respect of which such areas will be reserved.”
Objecting to this, the Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG) – the state's premier farmers' organization fighting fighting for land rights – has said the rule “ignores” the interests of the farmers' land ownership and common village land, adding, it is not “how the land would be acquired” and what “procedure to compensate” would be adopted.
KSG says, while the reservation of areas and grant to government companies, corporations or a joint venture is mentioned, wondering “what about farmers/tribals or general residents of such areas, if they want to mine the minerals individually or by founding producers’ company or a co-operative?”
Taking a tougher stance, Mines, Minerals and People (MM&P), a top advocacy group working in 16 Indian states, has said that the rules fail to take into account rights of individuals and communities while allowing the mining of minerals.
Citing the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Thressiamma Jacob & Ors vs Geologist, Department of Mining, Kerala, MM&P says, the owner of the land should be “the owner of the mineral and without the consent of the land holder mining lease should not be approved.”
MM&P says, even the Supreme Court Judgment in the case between Orissa Mining Corporation Ltd vs Ministry of Environment and Forest “upheld the rights of tribal communities and affirmed the importance of free prior consent of the affected community for any mining lease.”
Pointing out that the “the rules should explicitly state that without free prior consent of the affected community, the proposed mining lease would not be approved”, MM&P insists, the government should “modifying this rule to involve tribal individual or tribal cooperatives to be eligible for granting lease.”
Further objecting to the draft rules, to whom reactions were invited by the Government of Gujuarat, MM&P asserts, “There is no mention of Grievance Redressal mechanism in case of violation of human rights, rights over land and illegal mining”, adding, they, in fact, “overlook social impacts of mining.”
In yet another set of objections, KSG says, chapter III, clause 20, gives “free hand over water bodies, streams etc. to the lessee” a disaster for “downstream habitations and livestock rearers.”
GKS apprehends, “Water would be diverted or polluted and no restrictions have been made here, nor is there any provision for strictest possible punishment in diverting or polluting valuable water resources in Gujarat, which are very scarce. This cannot be tolerated.”
Objecting to yet another clause, 22(f), and calling it “draconian”, KSG says, the state government is proposed to act “on behalf of the lease holder”, even as depriving farmers of their right “just to serve the business community.”
The clause says, that in case of a dispute in the receipt of an offer of compensation for any damage from the operation in quarry lease, the lessee would have to “report the matter to the government and shall deposit with it the amount offered as compensation.”
The clause says, the government in such a case would be free to decide on “the amount of compensation” in accordance with the “the principles of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013.”
KSG asks, “Can government take sides and preserve the interests of business community at the cost of farmers? Is it public interest? Is it national interest? And for what and whose development?”

Comments

Unknown said…
Even in Meghalaya the govt. passed the MMMCR 2016 denying the rights of tribal people who have been excavating limestone since time immemorial through traditional methods......please kindly help us how to we counter the government.....for the past 10months halt on transportaion of limestone since limestone that has been been extracted through traditional methods which have been assessed and verified by the forest department no issue of challan and government is silent.....

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

How local NGO is using art, songs to teach children revive Sundarbans mangroves

By Sara Ahmed*  Located in the low-lying islands in the Bay of Bengal, the Sundarbans straddle the border between India and Bangladesh and cover more than 1 million hectares, making them the world’s largest single contiguous mangrove swamp . A Ramsar site added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987, they are home to a wide range of critically endangered fauna, including the Bengal tiger, the Ganges dolphin , river terrapin, the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python, along with approximately 428 species of birds , 120 fish, 42 mammal, 35 reptile and 8 amphibian species. Having adapted to the saline estuarine conditions, more than 60 plant species can be found there. Historically, cyclones have posed a greater threat in the Bay of Bengal than they do in the Arabian sea, to India’s west. Between 1891 and 2018, there were 520 cyclones in the Bay of Bengal , compared to 126 in the Arabian Sea. On top of sucking up large amounts of greenhouse emissions , mangroves also act as the f