Skip to main content

Will Govt of India ministers be allowed to stand by assurances on tribal rights given to them, wonder senior activists

Piyush Goyal receiving memorandum from mm&P delegates
By Our Representative
Will the Modi government  oblige Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram, who assured a civil rights group of "protect" tribal rights in mining areas by forming an all-party tribal MPs' committee to look into why India-wide implementation of the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA, 1996)?
PESA gives full powers to gram sabhas to people living in scheduled areas, mainly tribals, full rights to decide on how to utilize natural resources.
The delegation, led by Ravi Rebbapragada, chairman, mines, minerals & People (mm&P), which also met Piyush Goyal, minister of power, coal, new and renewable energy and mines, was told the Government of India “would look into” and “discuss” issues concerning environmental pollution.
A senior activist, who was part of the delegation, wondered whether the ministers'  assurance would turn into firm action, of if powerful pro-industry forces in the wouldn't allow smooth implementation of tribal rights laws, including PESA.
Expressing concern over “poor governance” and “apathy” of state governments in implementing the provisions of PESA and the Samata judgment, which seeks Centre’s intervention for implementing PESA, 1996, the delegation requested the ministers to “look into the matter” and demanded “appropriate action against the blatant violation of the provisions under the Act.” It particularly sought the Centre’s proactive interest in implementing the Act.
Representatives from 17 states met the two ministers and members of Parliament as part of their effort to apprise the ministers and MPs about the condition of children in mining areas, illegal mining and legal compliance and liability, failure to utilize the District Mineral Fund (DMF), and need to set up a Future Generations Fund in the mining areas.
Apart from the two ministers, the delegation met members of Parliament Sharad Yadav of Janta Dal (U), Mansukh Vasava of BJP, D Rajaof CPI, Tiruchi Siva of DMK, Jairam Ramesh of Congress, Jitendra Choudhury of CPI (M), among others.
Memoranaudm being submitted to  Jual Oram
Ashok Shrimali, general secretary, mm&P, told the ministers, “Despite several strict legislations and rules to regulate mines and minerals, 90% of mining activities are across the country are illegal. Owing to the loot of our natural resources in the absence of regulation, country’s huge chunk of royalty is being thieved by the mining mafia.”
Raising the issue of DMF, which is intended to be used for the rehabilitation and development of the communities affected by mining, Rebbapragada said, “Though the rules for DMF have been framed and funds accrued in most of the states, the utilization of this fund has not been in line with the mandated objectives”. He added, “There have been heinous attempts to hijack the funds and divert them to help the mining mafia.”
Rahul Basu of Goa Foundation demanded that there should an “intergenerational equity” in the mining areas, so that the people are made owners of the natural resources for generations to come, adding, this could be done by extending the “landmark judgment on creation of Goa iron ore permanent fund, delivered by the Supreme Court in case of Goa Foundation vs State of Goa, across the country.”
Shiva Kumar, anti-mining activist from Ballary, Karnataka, said, there has been criminal delay in preparing action plan and utilizing unused fund accrued under the Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation.
“Although it has been more than five years of Supreme Court order in the case of Samaj Parivartan Samuday v/s State of Karnataka to undertake environment restoration work in mine ravaged districts of Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru, not a single penny is spent on the community directly affected by mining”, he said.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?