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पन्ना जिले में वन संपदा पर माफिया राज

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पन्ना जिले की गुनोर तहसील के बरहाकला गाँव में चल रही अवैध खदान में मजदूरों का खून चूस रहे खनन माफिया.

वन संपदा पर माफिया राज

Ready to assist India with mining equipment: Katarzyna Kacperczyk

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NEW DELHI: East European major Poland is ready to assist India with the supply of state-of-art mining equipment and share expertise on safety of mines, suggested visiting Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Katarzyna Kacperczyk.

Kacperczyk, who was recently in India, with a big political and business delegation, also explored opportunities on joint research in the mining sector as well as in the field of clean energy. “India and Poland has lot of similarities and we have similar needs in the field of energy security and clean energy. We are ready to assist India with supply of modern mining equipment and technology on safety of mines. I had discussions with Indian officials in this regard,” Kacperczyk told ET in an exclusive interview in Delhi

Poland also has shale gas reserves and ready to export to India. “We have 55 shale gas wells in Poland and we are the only country that are in the advanced stage of exploration. The commercial production will begin next year. India can import shale gas from us to meet its growing energy demands,” pointed out the Minister who was also in Delhi to participate in a joint energy summit besides being present at the inauguration of the World Book Fair where Poland was the theme country this year. Read more

Courtesy: The Economic Times

Lack of mining exposure norms rued

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NAGPUR: Noise, dust, vibrations, heat, UV sunlight, etc, are certain occupational hazards that miners’ face during their regular work. Except for noise and dust, there are no standards for these exposures in India. The country needs standards for these exposures, especially in Indian mining conditions. Hence academic and scientific institutes should take a lead to first recognize and assess the potentially hazardous agents and then formulate standards.

These views were expressed by the former deputy director general of directorate of mine safety (DGMS) at Nagpur, RB Chakarborty while delivering the foundation day lecture of city-based National Institute of Miners’ Health (NIMH) ‘Safe Mines and Healthy Miners: Issues and Priorities’. The institute entered its silver jubilee year on Friday.

Miners suffer from a variety of occupational diseases like loss of hearing, pneumoconiosis, asbestosis (chronic inflammation of lungs), poisoning due to inhalation of metals and miners nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) due to darkness, skin cancers, lung cancers and tuberculosis. India has a unique blend of big and small, manual and mechanized, opencast and underground mines. Most of them are government-run but there are private players who violate rules. Hence, the standards should be formulated considering these factors too. Read more

Courtesy: The Times of India

World Bank Agrees to Investigate Labor Conditions at Indian Tea Company

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The World Bank has agreed to investigate Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL) in India for abusive working conditions on tea plantations in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam, following a formal complaint by workers. A Columbia Law School team has confirmed the workers allegations.

In 2009, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, invested $6.7 million into the newly created APPL to take over 25 plantations from the Tata Group, a major Indian multinational. In return, the IFC got a 19.9 percent in the new entity while Tata kept 41 percent ownership. The 31,000 workers on the plantations were allowed to buy shares in the new company at Rs 10 ($0.20) per share.

The APPL holdings number among the roughly 1,000 Assamese tea plantations that were established on tribal lands during the days of the British empire and now supply one sixth of the world’s tea supply. To this day the workers on many tea estates are the direct descendants of the families whose land were taken to create them in the first place and who live in a relationship of total dependence on the plantation with little intervention by the state.

All told, tea estates in India employ some one million permanent workers and another two million temporary workers, making the industry probably the largest private sector employer in the country. For Tata, a company that has managed tea estates since India’s independence from Britain, however, the major profits lay in marketing tea, rather than growing it.

The IFC saw the plan as an opportunity to pioneer a new system of worker ownership. At the time that the IFC made the investment, the Washington DC based multilateral bank sent staff to visit three plantations to check if the new company was in compliance with Indian laws as well as World Bank standards for environmental and social sustainability. The IFC staff issued an assessment that was “positive without reservation.” Read more

Courtesy: corp watch

Fate of sand mining in Rajasthan hangs in balance

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JAIPUR: Uncertainly prevails over sand mining from the state’s riverbeds as the mining lease holders have not procured the environmental clearance from environment ministry as per the Supreme Court directions.

The miners are now eagerly waiting for the apex court’s hearing on February 25 for relief. The state government has allowed sand mining till February 28, following the apex court directions. The ban will come into effect from March 1, if the environmental clearance is not taken. The state government has issued a letter of intent (LOI) to 82 lease holder for sand mining till 2014. Out of 82 miners, no lease holder has procured the clearance.

As the procedure to receive environment clearance is long, the Rajasthan Bajri Truck Operators’ Welfare Society president, Naveen Sharma, has filed an application in the Supreme Court praying extension of time. The hearing on the matter is scheduled to be held on Monday. Sources in the department claimed that senior officials have also reached New Delhi for the hearing.

“We have filed a 64-page application requesting that the court should allow the lease holder to continue with the mining. There are nearly 25 lakh workers and 17, 000 truck operators associated with the industry. Enforcement of the ban will lead to unemployment once again,” Sharma said.

It is learnt that till now the mining department has not issued public objection letter for the lease holders. Once the letter is issued, it is mandatory to give one month’s time to invite objections.

“As the election code of conduct will be enforced soon, there is no possibility that the procedure of public objection can be completed before the Lok Shabha election. In such a scenario, if the mining is banned, work will be affected for at least six months,” Sharma added.

As uncertainty prevails possibilities of sand hoarding is also expected to rise. “Many traders have started sand hoarding as chances of ban prevails and they could sell it on higher rates, once the ban is imposed,” a trader claimed.

This has also caused worries among realtors and officials of civic bodies as disruption in supply once again will affect the housing and infrastructure projects in the state. Currently, projects like Metro, affordable housing scheme, Bus Rapid Transit corridor are underway.

A senior official with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), said, “Earlier, due to the ban, work at many stations came to a standstill. Ban after a short interval can lead to serious troubles as the deadline is approaching fast.”

Courtesy: TIMES OF INDIA

Over 150 FIRs filed in two weeks over illegal mining

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ALWAR/JAIPUR: In the past 12 days since an anti-mining campaign was launched, joint teams of various departments have lodged over 150 FIRs and arrested 57 people in connection with illegal mining in the state. The officials claim this data show the drive has been effective so far though it has proved to be eyewash in some parts of the state, especially in Mewat region.

Owing to lack of coordination among various departments involved in the drive and growing fearlessness among the miners, the drive has not seen any substantiate success. Mining mafia is attacking the government teams. At least four such attacks have been reported in Alwar district.

Teams of police, revenue, forest, transport and mines departments launched a joint campaign against illegal mining starting on February 3. In Alwar, one of the worst affected districts in terms of mining, the campaign will end on February 17. However, officials have failed to put any effective check on illegal mining in the district. Read more

Courtesy: The Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The Centre may issue show cause notices to companies, including SAIL, Tata Steel, Essel Mining, JSPL and OMC, that hold 75 leases where illegal mining of iron and manganese ores was found by the Shah Commission.

The step would be in addition to legal action being initiated by the Odisha government against firms that carried out mining operations without environmental and other clearances.

The Centre-appointed Justice M B Shah Commission of Inquiry termed 22.56 lakh tonnes of iron and 3 lakh tonne of manganese ore productions by companies holding 75 leases as “illegal”, recommending recovery of ore value from these firms.

As many as 75 firms, including Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Tata Steel, Aditya Birla group’s Essel Mining and Industries, Jindal Strips of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), have been accused of indulging in “illegal/without any lawful authority” production of ores.

“It is proposed to issue directions to these 75 mining leases for restricting the production of ore to the level specified in the Environment Clearance letters and issue show cause notices for violations,” Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has said in an official document.

“It is also proposed to write to Odisha state government to take credible action against these mine projects under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, as per the facts of the case,” the ministry said. Read more

Courtesy: The Economic Times

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