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Float policy, hand over India's mining wealth to locals with right to inheritance: Representation to President, PM

Participants at the mm&P meet
By Our Representative
A high-level meeting of India’s top advocacy group, mines, minerals and People (mm&P), has decided to represent to President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the concept of "intergenerational equity” to make sure that the next generations are equal shareholders of the natural resources.
The controversial concept, which is directed against corporate houses and other business interests seeking to mine away the natural wealth, has been coined by Goa Foundation, a Goa-based voluntary organization. The concept states, those who depend on natural resources alone are their rightful owners.
Participated by 236 activists, experts, grassroots workers and bureaucrats, the meeting at Kotagiri, Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, saw Rahul Basu of the Goa Foundation state that society and the government “must not forget that they are just trustees of natural resources and not their owners.”
Referring to what he called “aggressive mining activities and profit mongering crony capitalists' hunger for profit out of natural resources”, Basu stressed on the "public trust" doctrine and the "intergenerational equity" concept – which, he claimed, has been recognized by the Supreme Court as part of the Right to Life.
"The concept of "intergenerational equity would make sure that the next generations are also the equal shareholder of the natural resources”, he said, adding, "As a result of the recommendation from the Goa Foundation, the Supreme Court of India ordered for creation of the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund meant to be utilized for the future generations as equal shareholders of the natural resources.”
Following his intervention at the mm&P, the meeting passed a unanimous resolution on "intergenerational equity based on the understanding on public trust doctrine, calling for declaring minerals as shared inheritance.”
Addressed to the President and the Prime Minister of India, participants from all the 20 states signed the resolution, demanding for "intergenerational equity" policy in each and every mining area, and ensuring that it is implemented.
Participated, among others, by former deputy director, Geological Survey of India (GSI), Krishna Murthy, waterman of Rajasthan Rajendra Singh, and Gujarat’s veteran Gandhian tribal leader Ashok Choudhury, the meeting saw the participants regret that the concept of community rights over natural resources was “dying down.”
Krishna Murthy, former deputy-director of GSI expressed his concern over the impact of coal mining on environment and wildlife, saying, the growing demand for electricity for commercial purpose has led to corporate greed for more coal-based power plants, and this is “uprooting millions of lives and livelihoods.”
Speaking the way natural resources are being fleeced, Singh said, while the poor are forced to migrate due to the scarcity of water, private companies are granted permission to extract as much water as they can for their commercial use.
Choudhury regretted that both the Central and state governments are not respecting the rule of law and implementing the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA, 1996) in the tribal areas to empower tribals to have a complete say over natural resources.
Speaking on the occasion, environmental activist CR Bijoy reminded the participants that only five out 17 states with sizable tribal population have so far framed PESA rules, while the rest are hesitant. “Most states are in fact displacing tribals from their lands", he added.

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