Himanshu Kumar on Indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar on Adivasi issues


 सभी जुड़े 
 करोड़ो आदिवासियों के जीवन एवं सम्मान के प्रश्न पर 
 
देश भर में आत्म चिंतन को बढ़ावा देने के लिए 
 
जन्तर मंतर, नई दिल्ली पर आज 1 जून 2013 से सुबह
 
 अनिश्चितकालीन उपवास
 
उपवासकर्ता हिमांशु कुमार
 
जिन्होंने लगभग  दो दशक तक छत्तीसगढ़ के दंतेवाडा क्षेत्र  में काम किया 
 
हिमांशु कुमार की हम सब से अपील 
 
 
आदिवासियों के संसाधनों पर पैसे वाली कंपनियों के कब्जा कर लेने और आदिवासियों को उनके अपने ही घर से भगा देने का मुद्दा इस देश के लिये कोई बड़ी समस्या नहीं बन पा रहा है 
 
यह बात सच है कि हम तभी चेतते हैं जब समाज में किसी मुद्दे पर कहीं हिंसा होती है . विनोबा का भूदान आन्दोलन भी भूमि को लेकर फैले हुए अन्याय और उससे उत्पन्न होने वाली हिंसा में से ही  निकला था .

अभी आदिवासी इलाकों में अमीर कंपनियों के लोभ के लिये करोड़ों आदिवासियों के जीवन , आजीविका और सम्मान पर हमला जारी है ,
 
भारत को एक राष्ट्र के रूप में सोचना पड़ेगा कि यह देश अपने मूल निवासियों के साथ क्या सुलूक करेगा ?
 
क्या हम आदिवासियों की ज़मीनों पर पुलिस की बंदूकों के दम पर कब्ज़ा जायज़ मानते हैं ? क्या हम मानते हैं कि आदिवासियों की बस्तियों में आग लगा कर उन्हें उनके गाँव से भगा कर उनकी ज़मीनों पर कब्ज़ा करने के बाद हम इस देश में शांति ला सकते हैं ?
 
एक बार हमें अगर अपने ही देशवासियों के साथ अन्याय करने की आदत पड़ गई तो क्या यह आदत हमें किस किस के साथ अन्याय करने का नहीं खोल देगी ?
 
आज हम आदिवासी पर हमला करेंगे ,फिर हम दलितों को मारेंगे, फिर हम गाँव वालों को मारेंगे . और एक दिन हम चारों तरफ से दुश्मनों से अपने ही बनाये गये दुश्मनों से घिर जायेंगे . 
 
इसलिये आज ही हमें आदिवासियों के साथ हमारे सुलूक की समीक्षा करनी चाहिये .
 
मेरी विनम्र कोशिश है कि इसी मौके को हम आदिवासियों के साथ इस देश को कैसा सुलूक करना चाहिये इस मुद्दे पर सोचने के रूप में सदुपयोग करें .
 
इस मुद्दे पर आत्म चिंतन करने के लिये मैं एक जून से जंतर मंतर पर एक उपवास शुरू करने का प्रस्ताव करता हूं
 
इस दौरान सामान मन के साथी अपने अपने क्षेत्र में इस विषय में कार्यक्रम और चर्चा करेगे तो हम देश भर में न्याय के पक्ष में और अन्याय के विपक्ष में एक माहौल तैयार कर पायेंगे .
 
आपके सुझाव का स्वागत है .
 
 
हिमांशु कुमार 

Anti-Vedanta campaign gathers steam


TNN May 28, 2013, 12.17AM IST

KORAPUT: With the Supreme Court leaving it to villagers to decide the fate of Vedanta‘s mining plan at Niyamgiri hills at gram sabhas, the anti-mining campaign at villages situated in and around Niyamgiri hills has gained momentum.

Hundreds of tribals, including Dongria Kondhs, assembled at Rayagada‘s Parsali village on Sunday and vowed not to allow an inch of Niyamgiri for bauxite mining.

“Niyamgiri is a source of livelihood for thousands of tribals of around 120 villages of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts. Once mining starts, the tribals will lose their livelihood and scores of perennial sources of water will dry up. We will fight tooth and nail against mining at Niyamgiri,” said sarpanch of Parsali Butu Khora.

According to the apex court’s April 18 order, the gram sabhas will also examine the cultural and religious claims of Dongria Kondhs over the hills.

The tribals, who had assembled under the banner CPI (ML), also decided to organize similar anti-mining meetings at all panchayats, which will be affected by the mining, and urge villagers to participate in large number at gram sabhas to oppose mining at Niyamgiri hills

 

Saha Commission – Deposition Proper Crèche facilities in mines #CSR #Odisha #Vaw #Womenrights


Deposition before Saha Commission CLAP espouses Creche in Mines.

Ahmadabad: 21.04: The provision of law under Mines Creche Rules 1966 and the Judgement of Odisha High Court in Committee for Legal Aid to Poor and Forum for Creche and Child Care Services (FORCES) vrs. State of Odisha bearing No. WP (C) No. 3132/2003 regarding crèche services for 0-6 age group siblings of working mother deserve priority attention with agenda of CSR by Mining Companies says the petition by Dr. Bikash Das, President, CLAP filed before Saha Commission. It is pertinent to mention that the Saha Commission is presently hearing the CSR of Mining Companies for peripheral development as a part of the overall enquire into irregularities of mining. In course of hearing of the case the lawyer of the petitioner Sidheswar Mohanty brought to the attention of the Commission that crèche facility for young children is a legal obligation, however, it is being overlooked in course of mining operation. Even the Odisha High Court in a public interest petition already directed for appropriate steps to establish crèche in mines. Hearing the contention of the petitioner Justice Saha observed that as per Mines Creche Rules its violation is an offence. Any mining which fail to perform its duty would attract prosecution. Senior Counsel Gopal Subramaniyam also supported the prayer of CLAP for crèche facility and informed the Commission that the submission will be taken care of by mining companies in their CSR Programme. Saha Commission directed the lawyer of CLAP to submit its written deposition before the Commission. BEFORE THE COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY COMPRISING HON’BLE SRI. JUSTICE M.B. SHAH (Retd.), (For illegal mining of Iron Ore and Manganese), Bungalow No. 13, Opp. Anti-Corruption Bureau, Dafnala, Sfahibaug , Ahmedabad – 4 The humble petition filed by Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP), a Registered Society based in Cuttack, Odisha. Sub: Proper enforcement of Crèche facilities for Children of Working Mothers in the mines within state of Odisha as per the provision laid down under Mines Crèche Rules, 1966 (framed by the Central Govt. of India on 1st April, 1966) in exercise of power conferred under Clause (d) and (w) of Section 58 of the Mines Act 1952 and also implementation of order of the Hon’ble High Court of Odisha in a Public Interest Litigation bearing no. WP (C) No. 3132/2003. The following submissions are made for the sympathetic consideration of this Hon’ble Commission in course of hearing the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of Mining Owners: 1. That provision of crèche facility for children of working mother in mining is a legal obligation of mining owner/miner as per the provision of Mines Crèche Rules, 1966. It is also a statutory obligation of the authorities of mining department to supervise whether the crèche facilities are being provided by the mining owner or not. It is also an entitlement of very young children (up to age of 6 years) who accompany their mother who are working in mines. 2. That, in spite of the provisions of Mines Crèche Rules 1966, the implementation of the provision is grossly manifestly poor as the mining owners are not giving due importance to the issue for various reason including low level of awareness about the provision of law together with lack of assertiveness among working mother about the statutory opportunity for which they are entitled. 3. That deprivation of working women having children below 6-years of age from the entitlement of crèche facility for their children is a common phenomenon all across the mines in Odisha and thereby it is a violation of a statutory obligation by the mining owners. 4. That the public authorities including Labor and Mining Officials appointed for the purpose of ensuring strict compliance of the statutory provisions like crèche facility are not discharging their duty for proper enforcement of the provision of crèche in mines. In fact there is no accountability of officials for strict adherence to the provisions of law. 5. That, to substantiate the rampant violation of the provision relating to crèche facilities, the present petitioner that is CLAP constituted a Fact Finding Mission consisting of Lawyers and Social Activists to investigate into the real state of affair which visited different mines of Sukinda area of Jajpur district of Odisha in the year 2002. After field investigation, the CLAP has published a report with name and style “Undermining Children in Mines” reflecting therein the illegalities and irregularities noticed about the implementation of Crèche facilities in the mines. Such inaction of mine owners is clear violation of rights of children upto age of six years whose mothers are working in respective mines. A Copy of the said report is attached herewith as ANNEXURE -1. 6. That, based on the aforementioned fact finding mission and the fact finding report titled Undermining Children in Mines, CLAP (Committee for Legal Aid to Poor) alongwith FORCES (Forum for Crèche and Child Care Services) approached the Hon’ble High Court of Odisha by way of filing a PIL vide WP (C) No. 3132/2003 seeking direction for enforcement of provisions relating to crèche facility in the mines. 7. That, after careful hearing of allegations leveled and counter affidavit filed by the respective parties, the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa vide order dt. 21.1.2011 passed a verdict with a direction to the OP No. 5 (Ministry of Labour, Union of India, Shrama Shakti Bhawan, New Delhi) to see that the crèches are properly maintained by the mines owners who have established the same as per the Act and Rules. And for those who have not established crèches, Directorate of Mines Safety shall see that the same are established forthwith and safety measures shall be taken for the children of working women in nines area; and further see that the trained teachers are appointed for functioning of Crèches properly. Moreover, periodical inspection shall also be carried out by the Directorate of Mines Safety regarding maintenance and functioning of Crèches in mines areas in consonance of provisions of the Act and Rules in vogue. If the authorities find that any mine owner is contravening the provisions of the Act and Rules they shall have to take steps to prosecute them before the Court of law for contravention of law, which tantamount to statutory offence. A copy of the order of Hon’ble High Court of Orissa dtd. 21.1.2011 is attached herewith as ANNEXURE – 2. 8. That, in spite of all this efforts and the order of the Hon’ble High Court, the deficits, inadequacies, irregularities and latches still persists in respect of enforcement of the provision concerning crèche facilities by the mines owners. The public authorities have not shown due diligence and not taken adequate measures for proper enforcement of crèche rules even though there is a clear direction by the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa made in this regard. 9. That, in the above facts and circumstances the following steps are very much essential for proper enforcement of Crèche Rules in the mines area and to ensure that the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as per the legal provision are effectively implemented for the shake of protection of best interest of the very young children, welfare of the working mother and also for promotion of good governance: ISSUES A. It will be mandatory for every Mines owner to provide Crèche facilities to the children upto age of 6 years of the working women. B. Every Crèche shall have a clean and sanitary latrine and bathroom, adequate safe drinking water, supplementary nutrition, medicines, beds, toys and medical check-up for the children and nursing mothers. C. Periodically visit and monitoring of the crèche facilities should be undertaken by the Directorate of Mines. D. The mines authorities will ensure that the crèche facilities have been strictly implemented by every mines owner. E. In case there is found any latches or negligence to provide crèche facilities, the licence granted to the respective mines is deemed to be cancelled. F. Every mines owner will submit quarterly report to the mines authorities explaining the details and steps taken to implement the crèche facilities for the supervision of the authorities. G. Effective measures should be taken by both the mining department and mines owners for proper implementation of Mines Crèche Rules. 10. That, the petitioner brings the above facts to the notice of the Hon’ble commission for its sympathetic consideration as the Commission rightfully considers a very important aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in course of hearing legal issues pertaining to mining allotment. 11. That, unless a matter like crèche facility for young children below the age group of 6-years of mother working in mines is taken into due consideration at this stage of hearing of the case, the issue of young children would be ignored from the entire process of rendering justice and the best interest of young children will be overlooked. P R A Y E R In the above facts and circumstances along with considering the legal provision of crèches facilities for children in mines, it is humbly prayed to pass appropriate order/recommendation for strict compliance of the legal provision made under Mines Crèches Rules, 1966 as a major aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). And further recommend the issues mentioned in Para – 9 are to be included as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the best interest of the children. Dr. Bikash Das, President Date: 19.4.13 Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP) And Convenor, Odisha FORCES 367, Markatnagar, Sector – 6, C.D.A, Cuttack – 14, Odisha, India AFFIDAVIT I, Dr. Bikash Das, aged about 43 years, S/o Late Shyam Sundar Das, President of Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP), AT: Plot NO. 367, Markatnagar, Sector – 6, PO: Abhinaba Bidanasi, PS: Markatnagar, Town/Dist.: Cuttack do hereby solemnly affirm and state as follows: 1. That I being president of CLAP presenting this petition before this Hon’ble commission. 2. That the facts stated above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Identified by Advocate Deponent Cuttack Date: 19.4.2013 Contact Number of CLAP Advocate Mr. Sidheswar Mohanty: 09861035421

BEFORE THE COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY COMPRISING

HON’BLE SRI. JUSTICE M.B. SHAH (Retd.),

(For illegal mining of Iron Ore and Manganese), Bungalow No. 13,

Opp. Anti-Corruption Bureau, Dafnala, Sfahibaug , Ahmedabad – 4

The humble petition filed by Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP), a Registered Society based in Cuttack, Odisha.

Sub: Proper enforcement of Crèche facilities for Children of Working Mothers in the mines within state of Odisha as per the provision laid down under Mines Crèche Rules, 1966 (framed by the Central Govt. of India on 1st April, 1966) in exercise of power conferred under Clause (d) and (w) of Section 58 of the Mines Act 1952 and also implementation of order of the Hon’ble High Court of Odisha in a Public Interest Litigation bearing no. WP (C) No. 3132/2003.

The following submissions are made for the sympathetic consideration of this Hon’ble Commission in course of hearing the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of Mining Owners:

1. That provision of crèche facility for children of working mother in mining is a legal obligation of mining owner/miner as per the provision of Mines Crèche Rules, 1966. It is also a statutory obligation of the authorities of mining department to supervise whether the crèche facilities are being provided by the mining owner or not. It is also an entitlement of very young children (up to age of 6 years) who accompany their mother who are working in mines.

2. That, in spite of the provisions of Mines Crèche Rules 1966, the implementation of the provision is grossly manifestly poor as the mining owners are not giving due importance to the issue for various reason including low level of awareness about the provision of law together with lack of assertiveness among working mother about the statutory opportunity for which they are entitled.

3. That deprivation of working women having children below 6-years of age from the entitlement of crèche facility for their children is a common phenomenon all across the mines in Odisha and thereby it is a violation of a statutory obligation by the mining owners.

4. That the public authorities including  Labor and Mining Officials appointed for the purpose of ensuring strict compliance of the statutory provisions like crèche facility  are not discharging their duty for proper enforcement of the provision of crèche in mines. In fact there is no accountability of officials for strict adherence to the provisions of law.

5. That, to substantiate the rampant violation of the provision relating to crèche facilities, the present petitioner that is CLAP constituted a Fact Finding Mission consisting of Lawyers and Social Activists to investigate into the real state of affair which visited different mines of Sukinda area of Jajpur district of Odisha in the year 2002. After field investigation, the CLAP has published a report with name and style “Undermining Children in Mines” reflecting therein the illegalities and irregularities noticed about the implementation of Crèche facilities in the mines. Such inaction of mine owners is clear violation of rights of children upto age of six years whose mothers are working in respective mines.

A Copy of the said report is attached herewith as ANNEXURE -1.

6. That, based on the aforementioned fact finding mission and the fact finding report titled Undermining Children in Mines, CLAP (Committee for Legal Aid to Poor) alongwith FORCES (Forum for Crèche and Child Care Services)  approached the Hon’ble High Court of Odisha by way of filing a PIL vide WP (C) No. 3132/2003 seeking direction for enforcement of provisions relating to crèche facility in the mines.

7. That, after careful hearing of allegations leveled and counter affidavit filed by the respective parties, the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa vide order dt. 21.1.2011 passed a verdict with a direction to the OP No. 5 (Ministry of Labour, Union of India, Shrama Shakti Bhawan, New Delhi) to see that the crèches are properly maintained by the mines owners who have established the same as per the Act and Rules. And for those who have not established crèches, Directorate of Mines Safety shall see that the same are established forthwith and safety measures shall be taken for the children of working women in nines area; and further see that the trained teachers are appointed for functioning of Crèches properly. Moreover, periodical inspection shall also be carried out by the Directorate of Mines Safety regarding maintenance and functioning of Crèches in mines areas in consonance of provisions of the Act and Rules in vogue. If the authorities find that any mine owner is contravening the provisions of the Act and Rules they shall have to take steps to prosecute them before the Court of law for contravention of law, which tantamount to statutory offence.

A copy of the order of Hon’ble High Court of Orissa dtd. 21.1.2011 is attached herewith asANNEXURE – 2.

8. That, in spite of all this efforts and the order of the Hon’ble High Court, the deficits, inadequacies, irregularities and latches still persists in respect of enforcement of the provision concerning crèche facilities by the mines owners. The public authorities have not shown due diligence and not taken adequate measures for proper enforcement of crèche rules even though there is a clear direction by the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa made in this regard.

9. That, in the above facts and circumstances the following steps are very much essential for proper enforcement of Crèche Rules in the mines area and to ensure that the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as per the legal provision are effectively implemented for the shake of protection of best interest of the very young children, welfare of the working mother and also for promotion of good governance:

ISSUES

A. It will be mandatory for every Mines owner to provide Crèche facilities to the children upto age of 6 years of the working women.

B. Every Crèche shall have a clean and sanitary latrine and bathroom, adequate safe drinking water, supplementary nutrition, medicines, beds, toys and medical check-up for the children and nursing mothers.

C. Periodically visit and monitoring of the crèche facilities should be undertaken by the Directorate of Mines.

D. The mines authorities will ensure that the crèche facilities have been strictly implemented by every mines owner.

E. In case there is found any latches or negligence to provide crèche facilities, the licence granted to the respective mines is deemed to be cancelled.

F. Every mines owner will submit quarterly report to the mines authorities explaining the details and steps taken to implement the crèche facilities for the supervision of the authorities.

G. Effective measures should be taken by both the mining department and mines owners for proper implementation of Mines Crèche Rules.

10. That, the petitioner brings the above facts to the notice of the Hon’ble commission for its sympathetic consideration as the Commission rightfully considers a very important aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in course of hearing legal issues pertaining to mining allotment.

11. That, unless a matter like crèche facility for young children below the age group of 6-years of mother working in mines is taken into due consideration at this stage of hearing of the case, the issue of young children would be ignored from the entire process of rendering justice and the best interest of young children will be overlooked.

P R A Y E R

In the above facts and circumstances along with considering the legal provision of crèches facilities for children in mines, it is humbly prayed to pass appropriate order/recommendation for strict compliance of the legal provision made under Mines Crèches Rules, 1966 as a major aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

And further recommend the issues mentioned in Para – 9 are to be included as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the best interest of the children.

Dr. Bikash Das,

President

Date: 19.4.13   Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP)

And Convenor, Odisha FORCES

367, Markatnagar, Sector – 6, C.D.A,

Cuttack – 14, Odisha, India

AFFIDAVIT

I, Dr. Bikash Das, aged about 43 years, S/o Late Shyam Sundar Das, President of Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP), AT: Plot NO. 367, Markatnagar, Sector – 6, PO: Abhinaba Bidanasi, PS: Markatnagar, Town/Dist.: Cuttack do hereby solemnly affirm and state as follows:

1. That I being president of CLAP presenting this petition before this Hon’ble commission.

2. That the facts stated above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Identified  by

Advocate           Deponent

Cuttack

Date: 19.4.2013

 

Press Release – PESA and bauxite mining in Andhra Pradesh- HRF


April 4, 2013

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) takes strong objection to the reported view of the AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) that it does not have to hold gram sabhas in the area where it is leasing in land for bauxite mining because the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas Act) 1996 (PESA) is not applicable to major minerals.

If the APMDC thinks it is being very clever, we invite its officers to read PESA once again. Section 4 (k) and 4 (l) which refer to prior recommendation of the gram sabha or the panchayats for grant of prospecting or mining lease is confined to minor minerals, but those are not the only provisions of PESA. Under Section 4 (d), the power to safeguard and preserve the community resources, which is another name for common property resources, should be with the gram sabha.

Though the land being leased to APMDC for mining bauxite in the Visakhapatnam agency is forest land, undertaking mining in that land will affect the water resources of the neighbouring hamlets since the water retained in the bauxite hills is the source of the rivulets and subsoil water that the people depend upon. It is a well-established fact that the hills containing bauxite deposits have a good capacity for retention of water, which will be lost for ever if the hills are opened up for mining.

The land proposed to be mined is also a source of minor forest produce such as thatching and dry twigs. It is a source of grazing for animals. The ownership of such minor forest produce is conferred on the gram sabha by Section 4 (m) (ii) of PESA and tat right cannot be unilaterally taken away.

We demand that the APMDC stop acting over-intelligent and follows scrupulously the provisions of Section 4 (d), 4 (m) (ii) and the general principle in section 4 (m) that the gram panchayat in the Scheduled Areas is endowed with the power of self-government. PESA is a progressive legislation that protects the adivasi communities’ rights to land and resources in tribal areas. These rights simply cannot be overridden unlawfully.

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)

 

Almost 42,000 hectares of forest land diverted in Odisha


,Jayajit Dash  |  Bhubaneswar  March 26, 2013 BS

Land diversion for mining, irrigation, power, roads, railways, industries & defence

Forest land to the tune of 41,891.25 hectares (or 1,03,515.53 acres) has been diverted in Odisha till March 6, 2013 since the enactment of Forest Conservation Act-1980 by the Centre.
The forest land diversion has been effected for various sectors like mining, irrigation, power, roads, railways, industries and defence.Almost all standalone mine lesses and industrial players with end-use projects like National Aluminium Company (Nalco) have benefited from forest land diversion in the state.

Forest land diversion has been carried out in the state in accordance with Section 2 of Forest Conservation Act, forest minister Bijayshree Routray said in a written reply in the state assembly.

On compliance to Forest Rights Act and the August 2009 notification of the Union ministry of environment & forest, he said, “The proposals submitted to the MoEF are processed in accordance with the guidelines dated August 3, 2009 issued by the ministry in the matter of compliance of Scheduled Tribes & Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act-2006.
Certificate on five terms complying to the provisions of the above circular of MoEF is submitted by the collectors of the concerned districts who head the district level committee for settlement of Forest Rights and are annexed to the forest diversion proposal while recommending the diversion proposal to the ministry. The certificates along with the resolution of the gram sabha duly signed by the members present and its English version are sent to MoEF for consideration.”

The state government is sitting over 431 proposals of forest land diversion across sectors like irrigation, industry, mining, energy, railway, roads & bridges and human habitations.

Mining sector tops the list with 205 proposals pending for diversion of forest land.

Other sectors with forest land diversion proposals in the pipeline are irrigation (27), industry (29), energy (44), railway (21), roads & bridges (37), human habitations (2) and miscellaneous (66).

It may be noted that mining activity alone has resulted in diversion of 8,194.86 hectares (or 20,249.94 acres) of forest land in Keonjhar district.

 

Columbia halts mining multinationals in indigenous territory #goodnews


Wednesday, 13 February 2013 15:38 Jacob Stringer

Colombia news - mining suspension

A judge suspended Monday all activities by mining companies in nearly 50,000 hectares of indigenous lands in northwest Colombia, reported local media.

In an “unprecedented” ruling, all mining and exploration activities in 49,421 acres of territories belonging to indigenous Embera Katio communities have been halted for up to six months due to a failure to consult and protect the communities, according to El Tiempo.

“[This decision] only seeks to prevent the continued violation of the rights of indigenous peoples on their territory [arising from] disproportionate use by people outside the community, and the violence that has been occurring in the area, of which there is much evidence, ” said the judge.

The injunction covers an area known as the Alta Andagueda in Choco and Antioquia departments. The companies affected include multinational gold miner AngloGold Ashanti, working in the area with Continental Gold, and Colombian company Exploraciones Choco Colombia.

The judge ordered a halt to activities in 80 percent of the collective territory of the Embera Katio in order to protect the communities, noting that an increase in mining concessions in the area since 2006 has been mirrored by an increase in violence. The area has already seen several indigenous communities displaced to nearby cities due to violence.

BACKGROUND: Colombia to relocate 148 displaced indigenous families

While indigenous communities have a constitutional right to be consulted on the use of their land, the judge did not declare the mining concessions illegal but ordered the suspension to protect indigenous communities while the legality of the titles is determined. Some of the licenses held by the mining companies for the area reportedly do not expire until 2038 and 2041.

The decision to suspend mining for the sake of indigenous communities comes in the same week as a decision to suspend an eco-tourism project in Tayrona National Park for the same reason

 

Effects of Supreme Court’s judgement on #Vedanta group companies


6 DEC, 2012, 04.27PM IST, GAURAV MODI,ET BUREAU

MUMBAI: Supreme Court’s verdict on Niyamgiri mines today and on Goa mining tomorrow will decide the stock price movement of Sterlite IndustriesBSE 2.35 %and Sesa GoaBSE 1.61 % on the bourses in the short term. However, few positives have already been factored in the market in last 10 trading sessions.Mining of bauxite ores from Niyamgiri mines has been banned by the Supreme Court to protect the tribes from the Odisha hills. The probability of the decision to be favour of the company seems to be bleak. Shutdown of the alumina refinery in Lanjigarh reaffirms the fact that the company itself is not optimistic. However, analysts from the streets believe that in case the decision comes in favour of the company, the stock price of Sterlite Industries can see an up move of around 30% in the short term and another 30-40% in the long term.

The Supreme Court will also come out with a decision tomorrow on the petition filed by the Goa government to resume mining activities. There are three distinct possibilities in this case.

The verdict allows resumption of mining activities- SC’s strictness on matters related to environment and illegal mining (as was also seen in the Karnataka mining ban) makes this scenario least possible. However, it may so happen that the court allows partial mining as the sector contributes nearly 35% to the GDP of the state and provides huge employment. In this case, analysts believe that the fair value of the stock should be in the range of Rs 190-200.

The verdict only allows transportation of already mined inventory- it is believed that this looks like the most plausible case and will help Sesa Goa release roughly 2.5 million tonnes of iron ore it has in inventory. This case will however not be a big boost to the company as it is believed that the fair value in this case is Rs 165-Rs170.

The verdict uphelds the ban- Since Sesa Goa has 15.5 million tonnes of capacity in Goa out of the total 18.4 million tonnes, this scenario will have a severe impact on the company. The company has not been mining anything since the ban was put. The fair value in this scenario is expected to be around Rs 150-155.

The stock prices of both the group companies have become highly correlated amid the news of potential merger by year end. The prices of both the companies have gone up by 15-20% in the last 10 trading sessions. The conditional nod for the residual stake sale in Hindustan ZincBSE 0.22 % and BALCO by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs last week has also helped the stocks to show a one way run up.

The SC’s decisions today (on Sterlite) and tomorrow (on Sesa Goa) will determine the future changes in the prices of the two companies in the short to medium term

 


Debabrata Mohanty : Sat Nov 17 2012,
Semi Column

From being a soporific department under which miners had a free run in the state’s ore-rich hinterland, the Orissa Steel and Mines Department has suddenly changed tack and is showing a fresh burst of energy. The biggest example of this was the Rs 76,000-odd crore penalty levied recently on companies for extracting ore in excess of set limits and violating environmental laws over the past 10 years. Last month, the department also ordered that those waiting for their mining lease to be renewed should restrict production to their captive requirement, and that areas which had not been leased out would be given to state-run Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC). To give an idea of the staggering penalty, consider that it would wipe off Orissa’s Rs 40,000 crore debt, allow the state to have a tax-free budget for the next few years and still leave enough to run several populist schemes. What the Naveen Patnaik government also hopes is that the figure would blind everyone to how the mining mess came to this in the first place. It may not just be a coincidence that the penalty was imposed just days before the M B Shah Commission landed in Orissa for the mining probe. Activists seeking a CBI inquiry say the government has deliberately left loopholes in the penalty order to let the violators go scotfree. For example, they point out, it hasn’t cancelled the lease of miners who violated their lease conditions, which it could have done, and instead levied fines, which it may not have the authority to do under environment laws. Besides, the government is silent on the role played by officials of the Orissa Pollution Control Board, the deputy directors of mines, Indian Bureau of Mines and Forest and Environment Department in the excess mining. The decision to let Orissa Mining Corporation become the default miner may not be a good idea either as the corporation is barely able to run three of its 35 mines, and is itself accused of illegal mining worth over Rs 2,000 crore. Over the past three years, mining has become a major source of revenue for the state, earning it Rs 4,517 crore last year alone. It’s time Orissa treated this asset as an asset.   Debabrata is a special correspondent based in Bhubaneswar debabrata.mohanty@expressindia.com

 

When excess mining got a legal seal #Odisha


pic courtesy, Reuters

Debabrata Mohanty : Bhubaneswar, Mon Nov 12 2012, 01:22 hrs

A key mining regulator, The Indian Bureau of Mines, allowed excess mining to carry on in Orissa by raising the permissible limit of those responsible, says the state government, which recently slapped a penalty on several leaseholders.

The IBM, however, says that excess mining is not illegal as long as the companies involved pay the royalty for what they have extracted. In fact, because of an amendment to mining rules, the state and the Centre continue to debate what constitutes illegal mining.

The IBM, with its headquarters in Nagpur, approves the mining plans of each company for a period of five years with predetermined annual limits under section 5(2)(b) of the Mines & Minerals (Regulation & Development) Act, 1957 and other rules such as Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, and Mineral Conservation & Development Rules, 1988. A lease period of 20 or 30 years is, therefore, divided into four or six mining plans. After the state government gets the IBM-approved mining plan, it grants or renews a lease.

When the first signs of excess mining in Keonjhar and Sundargarh showed in 2003, IBM officials on the ground spotted it. Official sources said that under the MC&D Rules, 1988, IBM officials are empowered to cancel the lease or impose penalties. It instead revised the mining plan, the sources said.

Documents with the steel and mines department show that in Khandabandh mines in Keonjhar, the IBM had approved extraction of 3.60 lakh tonnes by Tata Steel in 2006-07. The company raised 7.64 lakh tonnes, and again 7.42 lakh tonnes in 2007-08. The next year, the IBM raised the limit to 7.06 lakh tonnes without imposing penalties. In 2002-03, when the limit was 24 lakh tonnes at Joda East mines, the Tatas mined 30.5 lakh tonnes. The next year, the IBM raised the limit to 40.1 lakh tonnes.

“The mining plan/scheme is an instrument to systematically conserve the ores and not finish them overnight. Once a mining plan is given for five years, it should not be revised midway, but that’s what the IBM did,” said Orissa director of mines Deepak Kumar Mohanty. “They didn’t levy any penalty on over-mining and instead set new limits the next year. If you are going to condone illegalities, why have a mining plan/scheme at all?”

IBM officials say excess extraction is not illegal as long as the miner pays the royalty. “Once royalty is paid on excess production of ore, it can’t be called illegal mining. This was more like irregular operations,” said M Biswas, regional controller of mines with the IBM.

Biswas rejected the state’s allegation that the IBM failed to detect irregularities in mining. “We have done our duty and the state government is doing its job,” he said. “The IBM should not be blamed for the wrongs. It has taken action against certain mines by suspending their operations.”

Chief secretary B K Patnaik had written to the Union Mines Ministry about the IBM’s inaction, and the mines secretary wrote back to say that 20 per cent excess mining for a given year is condonable. This July, the ministry amended the MC Rules, 1960, saying mining outside the lease area is illegal but excess mining inside the lease area is not. The state government finds this difficult to accept. “Where is the rule in the MMDR Act that says 20 per cent excess mining can be allowed?” says the state director of mines.

Jayant Das, president of the Orissa High Court Bar Association and a lawyer on mineral matters, said, “The IBM had all the information to be able to crack down on illegal mining. But companies continued to over-extract from mines which had a deemed renewal status. This is not possible without a quid pro quo arrangement.”

Environmental activist Biswajit Mohanty, who has filed a PIL in the Orissa High Court demanding a CBI probe into the scam, said, “If deemed renewal by the state steel and mines department was the main cause of excess mining, the IBM’s negligence or condoning gave the miners the licence to loot.”

 

Mining in rat holes, and a Meghalayan policy


Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Tehelka Blog, Nov 12, 2012

It is said that Meghalaya has a history of no less the 80 years of unregulated and unscientific mining of natural resources, mostly coal and limestone. Due to customary tribal laws and lack of resistance, unregulated mining has turned into a cottage industry of sorts in the hilly state. In fact, though it remains quite unregulated, mining is Meghalaya’s biggest industry.

For instance, you will come across ‘rat hole mining’ in almost every nook and corner, where minors risk their lives to dig out coal. It was after activists rung the alarm bells on child rights abuse in these ‘rat holes’ that the Meghalaya government started to take the matter seriously. Moreover, the presence of large-scale limestone reserves in the state has made way for dozens of cement manufacturing plants, often set up in violation of environmental and forest guidelines. Meanwhile, the state government has drafted the Meghalaya Mineral Policy 2010 and plans to get it approved in the winter session of the State Legislative Assembly – the last time the Assembly would meet before the state goes to polls in early 2014.

The Mukul Sangma government has already started to hard sell the policy, which promises to bring scientific know-how to miners and private investment to the mining sector so that bigger projects can be envisaged, which would also enable infrastructure development. Sources say, since the Congress in Meghalaya is itself divided in opinion about introducing the policy, the government keeps it on hold. There is a desperate attempt to dress up the policy as a holy cow, but it is really going to be that sacrosanct?

All of Meghalaya falls under the Sixth Schedule areas, where, as per the Constitution, the tribals do not need any prior permission to start mining. So there is no need for environmental, forest or pollution clearances, and the industry is tax-free. Many of the tribals in governance and politics are also seen to be involved in unregulated mining. Though labour laws, child rights and safety norms are joke for Meghalaya’s mining industry, Constitutional safeguards for tribal areas in the form of the Sixth Schedule keep the Centre from poking its nose in the matter. Sources claim that all politicians have huge assets in unregulated mining, and the workers in the sector are either migrant poor from other states, or from Nepal and Bangladesh, or they are trafficked minors. So the state government tends to ignore even major mining accidents.
So the policy might have come about because of the pressure the state government came in from the Guwahati High Court on the issue. The HC had imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Meghalaya for not having a mining policy, and later another Rs 5 lakh for not regulating mining on tribal land.

Ahead of the election, no political party in Meghalaya would dare to speak against illegal and unregulated mining, and after the poll, everyone will forget the issue and the policy will bite the dust. It is time for the tribal chiefs of Meghalaya, who hold enormous powers, to rise beyond clannish thinking and raise their voice for a regulated mining regime that has respect for the environment, and for forest, labour and child rights.

Ratnadip Choudhury Author: Ratnadip Choudhury works as a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka. A young IT professional by training and a journalist by chance, Ratnadip hails from Tripura and has been reporting out of Northeast India for Eight years, as of 2012. He started his career with the Tripura Observer and went on to work with the Northeast Sun, The Northeast Today, News Live, Sahara Time and The Sunday Indian. He has also contributed to BBC, CNN, NatGeo TV, NDTV, CNN-IBN and TIMES NOW. Before joining Tehelka, Ratnadip worked with the national bureau of the television news channel NewsX. He specializes in conflict reporting and has a keen interest in India’s eastern neighbours. He is based in Guwahati.