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Yet another no to Niyamgiri mining

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BHAWANIPATNA: The last gram sabha in Kalahandi district at Ijurpa village and the eighth overall on Tuesday voted against mining Niyamgiri. The Supreme Court had asked gram sabha to take a call on mining proposal of Vedanta Aluminium Limited.

All the four voters at the meet, presided over by ward member Luka Majhi, voiced concern over mining. “We grow vegetables at Ijurpa and survive peacefully. The government never tried to develop our area and now they have come to dig our Niyamgiri hills,” said Dhanu Goud. As many as 107 out of 128 voters took part in five village meets.

Courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA

Government not helping CBI in coal scam probe: Kirit Somaiya

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MUMBAI: Accusing chief minister Prithviraj Chavan of shielding corrupt ministers, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya on Saturday raised questions over the CM’s “Mr Clean” image. Somaiya said the DF government was deliberately not cooperating with the CBI’s coal scam probe.

“Tatkare’s son, daughter and daughter-in-law are directors in Next Technologies (India) Pvt Ltd, which has Grace Industries Ltd as an investor. Grace Industries is under the lens in the coal scam,” Somaiya said. The CM should ask Tatkare to resign, he said. The CM was not available for comments. “The allegations are baseless,” Tatkare said.

Courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA

Fourth Edition of India’s biggest environment awareness initiative ‘My Earth My Duty’ to kickstart from August 1, 2013

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New Delhi: Zee Media Corporation Ltd, India’s largest news network, has launched the fourth edition of India’s biggest environment awareness initiative ‘My Earth My Duty’, on Monday. My Earth My Duty has proven to be an essential platform provided by an Indian media house in bringing behavioral change in Indian citizenship, especially youth. Since 2010, the initiative has been able to sensitize and encourage people to take adequate steps to conserve Earth and more so for our children and grandchildren.

Zee Media through My Earth My Duty 2013 aims at encouraging people to participate inAwareness Sessions and Pan-India Plantation Drive. The month long activities will start from August 1, across various cities of India. Under the first phase, Indian citizens will be educated about environmental degradation and generate concern about the hazardous changes taking place in the environment with a view to motivate them to take positive consequential actions. The campaign will mobilize people to adopt eco-friendly measures in their daily lives and bring about a change in their outlook.

Discussions about the changing environment and handy solutions to fight against it, pledge ceremony, cultural programs on the theme, signature campaigns and rallies across the city would mark the ground activities being conducted in over 15 cities across the Nation.

Mr Alok Agrawal, CEO, Zee Media Corporation Ltdsaid, “Our effort is to create environmental awareness through My Earth My Duty among the youngsters who are the future of India. Inculcating awareness amongst them will promise a greener Earth both for themselves as well as their successors. Zee Media Corp is committed to carry on this campaign till Earth restores its normal ecological system. Zee Media has always been on the forefront of bringing around a positive change in the lives of people it touches and this is what it is trying to promote through this initiative as well.” 

A week long pan-India plantation drive will start from 15th August to mark the 66th year of India’s Independence mobilizing citizens for highest number of plantation. Zee Media hopes its 100 million viewers will come out with supporting hand to contribute in this Green Revolution which is the only alternative to control environmental degradation. 

As a responsible media house, Zee Media has been committed to engage the youth of India whose contribution is crucial for a greener and sustainable future. In a short span of time My earth My Duty has been recognized as India’s biggest environmental awareness initiative and received well by over 50 million youngsters, who along with other partners of this initiative have planted more than 1.4 crore trees in 1.5 lakh villages. Dignitaries such as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Kapil Dev, Irfan Khan, have associated with this noble initiative.

Rohit Kumar, VP, Zee Media Corporation Ltd said, “While global warming, natural calamities and solutions therein have become the talk of the town after witnessing disasters in Uttarakhand and Tsunami in coastal regions sometime back, not much initiative has been taken to increase environmental consciousness. Zee Media Corp, as a responsible and environmentally conscious media house, has been constantly trying to address this national concern and raise awareness towards conserving the environment under its My Earth My Duty initiative, since last couple of years. We hope to make a significant contribution towards a greener and brighter future.” 

Infact in an unparallel achievement for any initiative, ‘My Earth My Duty’ was selected to represent India’s action against Climate Change at the 2012 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The revolutionary movement has also been recognized by Limca Book of Records besides winning several coveted awards. 

Zee Media has partnered with Ministry of Youth – National Service Scheme & Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Para-military forces-Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Reserve Police Force, ETF, Brahm Kumari Samaj, Centre for Media Studies and others to maximize the reach and impact of the initiative.

For more details and participate please visit: http://zeenews.india.com/myearth2013

Courtesy: ZEENEWS

One killed, four injured in police firing near Ranchi

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200 farmers protest against acquisition of farm land by NTPC in Hazaribagh

A farmer was killed and four others, including an 18-year old boy, were injured when the police fired at a group of 200 farmers gathered in Pagar village 125 km from Ranchi to protest against the acquisition of agricultural land by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Hazaribagh on Tuesday. The farmers had tried to stop the construction of an office for NTPC at Pagar, four km from here, said villagers.

“Sub-contractor Sitaram Khushwaha’s men attacked us when we asked them to stop. They hit Kamalnath Mahto with an axe and his head was bleeding. Soon, six policemen arrived at the site. They fired twice in the air and then they fired at all of us,” said Mahesh Mahto a class X graduate who owns an acre of land here.

On Wednesday afternoon, when Kesar ‘Takeshwar’ Mahto (50) was declared dead from a bullet injury in his waist during the police firing, more than 150 villagers carried his body to the village square.

Of the four injured, Makhan Verma (36), Rahul Kumar (18) and Ramesh Mahto (37) were referred to Hazaribagh government hospital. Nakhan Mahto (38) was referred to Ranchi with a bullet injury to his waist. Till late Wednesday night, Mr. Mahto’s family and the villagers remained around Kesar Mahto’s body and were continuing their protest.

More than 10,000 families in 16 villages organised the Karnpura Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (KBSS) which has opposed the NTPC project to mine coal from this area since it acquired the mining lease in 2005. While some villagers are opposed to selling their land, others have demanded Rs. 25 lakh and a job instead of Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 3000 annuity that has been offered by NTPC for the land for mining coal for its Singrauli plant and North Karnpura thermal power plant (planning stage) in Tandwa, Chatra.

“This is an effort to crush our movement and to demoralise us but our movement will only gain more strength,” said Deepak Das (34) a leader with KBSS. A First Information Report had earlier been registered on May 8 in Badka Gaon police station against Mr. Das and activists Anirudha Kumar and Dileshwar Mahato for leading a protest at the time of the visit of NTPC Managing Director Arup Roy Choudhury on May 7.

“Assitant Sub Inspector M.N. Singh and five constables have been suspended. An enquiry will be done. We will also issue a notice to NTPC for starting work without informing the administration when there has already been protests against this project,” said Hazaribagh’s Superintendent of Police Manoj Kaushik who reached the spot of protest here on Wednesday afternoon.

“This is not the first time that the police have fired at villagers. It happened in Tapkara under Babula Marandhi’s government, at the Electrosteel plant under Madhu Koda, at Kathikund under Shibu Soren,” said CPI (ML) MLA Binod Singh who also reached here from Ranchi.

“The State’s rehabilitation policy is still incomplete and there is no policy at all for land for private purposes,” Mr. Singh added.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Illegal mining case: Goa govt files complaint with Lokayukta

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Panaji: Goa government has filed a complaint with the Lokayukta in connection with the illegal mining in the state requesting the ombudsman to investigate the financial losses faced due to this alleged scam.

“The complaint was registered with the Lokayukta to find out the loss to the state exchequer and also for fixing the responsibility on the people involved in it,” state chief minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters on Monday. 

He said the crucial inquiry reports, including Justice M B Shah commission findings, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Central Empowered Committee (CEC) are annexed with the complaint. 

The chief minister said the inquiry does not name anyone, but in fact points to the instances of illegal mining. 

Shah commission had pegged loses due to illegal mining to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore. Parrikar said that the state government has already filed a case with the Crime Branch regarding the criminal proceedings against those involved in illegal mining. 

The case was filed last week by state Mines and Geology Department.

Courtesy: Zeenews 

7 out of 12 Odisha villages vote against Vedanta project

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BHAWANIPATNA: Vedanta Aluminium Ltd’s plan to mine Niyamgiri hills got dashed on Monday with the seventh gram sabha opposing the move. The Supreme Court had ordered gram sabhas to vote on bauxite mining in the hills. All six gram sabhas – three in Kalahandi district and three in Rayagada – rejected the proposal. There will be five more such meets, but the result is clear: the tribal vote is against the project.

Phuldumer village, the scene of action on Monday, is hardly 10 km from the VAL refinery under Junagarh block in Kalahandi district. Earlier Dongria and Kutia Kondhs had vehemently opposed the mining bid in the three gram sabhas at Kalahandi’s Tadijhola, Kunakadu and Palbori villages on July 23, 24 and 25.

Fearing adverse impact of mining on their culture and religion, all 49 villagers present at Monday’s meet, said an emphatic no, said tehsildar (Lanjigarh) Kailash Nayak. Of 65 voters, 16 did not turn up. The 49 included 17 men and 32 on the distaff side. Five SC voters and 44 from ST community totted up to 49 – the largest at any sabha in Kalahandi so far. The proceedings at the gram sabha, supervised by additional district judge (vigilance), Pramod Kumar Jena, were video recorded.

Presiding over the meeting, ward member Rama Majhi said, “We survive here for the forest produce and without Niyamgiri hills we can’t live.”

On Tuesday, the tribals would air their views at Ijurpa, the last gram sabha to be held in Kalahandi where four voters are likely to attend. As Maoists are observing martyrs’ week since Sunday, the meet was held under a security blanket. Activist Prafulla Samantara, in a statement issued in Bhubaneswar, said the “tribals took the decision to protect their culture and tradition”.

Courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA

Akhilesh Yadav defends suspension of IAS officer who took on UP sand mafia

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Rubbishing the allegations by opposition parties that the suspension of Sub-Divisional Magistrate Durga Shakti Nagpal had come under pressure from the mining mafia, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today said the step was taken because there was a possibility of communal tension brewing up in the area.

“There are many such incidents where there is a chance of communal tension erupting, it becomes necessary to take certain administrative decision to prevent it. Therefore we have taken this decision” (of suspending the magistrate), he told reporters at the Bangalore International Airport here.

“When we don’t take any decision, you (media) complain of our indecision and if we take, you say it is a harsh decision,” the Chief Minister said.

A 2009-batch IAS officer posted as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Gautam Budh Nagar in September last year, 28-year-old Durga Shakti Nagpal was penalised ostensibly for the demolition of a wall at a disputed place of worship. She had led a crackdown on unauthorised mining in the district and got over two dozen FIRs registered against those involved in illegally removing sand.

Opposition parties had alleged that the suspension order has come under pressure from the mining mafia. On news reports that the Samajwadi Party led government had forwarded a request to the civil aviation ministry to permit to take his car and guards right up to planes at all airports in India, Yadav said he has neither asked for such a privilege nor keen on enjoying such benefits.

“It is a possibility that due to security reasons somebody must have made a demand (to permit to take his car and guards right up to planes at all airports in India). However, it is left to the agencies concerned to take a decision on the matter. There is no demand from our side,” he said.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

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