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Samata, mm&P delegation raises mining affected people's issues before MPs, minister

By Our Representative
A delegation of civil rights organisations Samata and Mines, Minerals and People (mm&P), which met MPs of various political parties on August 8 to 9, has demanded that false cases against Jharkhand's 20 Patthargadi movement activists, fighting for their Constitutional rights, should be withdrawn, and the issue should be raised in Parliament.
The delegation was led by Ravi Rebbapragada, chairperson, and Ashok Shrimali, secretary-general mm&P, and consisted of mm&P executive committee members from Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka. It met Mansukhbhai Vasava, Prabhubhai Vasava, Arjunlal Meena, Sanjay Singh, Syed Naseer Hussain, Naranbhai Rathwa, L Hanumanthaiiah, Madhusudan Mistry, Rajamani Patel, Narendra K. Sawaikar and K Raju.
It also met Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, minister of state, coal and mines, to discuss about legal hurdles that may be faced if the Central government amends the MMDR Act, 1957, and the Abolition of Mining Concessions and Declaration of Mining Leases Act 1987.
Highlighting the constitutional rights of the adivasi community ignored in the process of meeting 'national development goals' in the the areas affected by mining, the delegation proposed the concept of cooperative mining across as per the Samata Judgement,1997 to ensure sustainable mining, reduce environmental degradation and generate employment to the local communities.
A memorandum submitted to the MPs and the minister said, approximately 1 lakh illegal mining cases are reported across the Country with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh topping the list. It added, total collection across the country for District Mining Fund is 18,467 Rs crore, yet Rs 3,552.39 crore has been spent in the mining affected areas.
Other issues raised in the memorandum included poor implementation of PESA Act, forced land acquisition, poor safety of mine workers, and environmental degradation.

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