Mineral block auctions delayed

The New Indian Express || 04 April 2019

Fate of around 230 mineral blocks for which leases run out in March 2020 remain uncertain with auctions put on hold until the polls are over

With elections just around the corner, the fate of about 230 mineral blocks for which leases run out in March 2020 remain uncertain with auctions having been put on hold until the polls are done. The central government had planned to auction off about a 100 of these by the end of March, but a lack of bidders, regulatory hurdles at the state level and legal issues have played spoilsport.

Now, officials say, auctions will be held only after polling for the Lok Sabha elections ends in May, raising concerns on whether the process would be completed before the leases run out next year. According to a report from the Ministry of Mines, Jharkhand is set to see the highest number of blocks going under the hammer at 20, followed by states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana and Assam. Read more

Aliens in their own lands: When Chhattisgarh’s tribals were turned into encroachers

The Hindu || Jacob Koshy || April 6, 2019

In Chhattisgarh, the Forest Rights Act potentially allows 7.4 million tribal and other traditional forest dwellers to claim land rights. However, half these claims have been rejected and the land siphoned off, often arbitrarily. Jacob Koshy reports on the difficulties in implementing the Act and the plight of the Adivasis

Three years ago, Sunder Singh Kumeti, a Gond tribal, lost access to a parcel of land in the forest that he and his family had foraged for two generations. Before that, Kumeti recalls his work routine as being more or less the same everyday from boyhood. He would walk, along with his fellow villagers, several kilometres into the forest abutting his village looking for flowers from the mahua tree, or wood from the stout sal tree. His village, Patkalbeda, located in Antagarh panchayat of Kanker district in Chhattisgarh,is mostly forest area, though not classified as a reserve forest or a protected area. Read more

Dhanbad DMF funds city infrastructure projects, neglecting mining-affected people

Down to Earth || Chinmayi Shalya, Rajeev Ranjan || 03 April 2019

The district’s latest Rs 307 crore sanctions fail issues of livelihood and healthcare, which are longstanding challenges for the worst-affected mining areas

LED street lighting, renovation of town hall and a multi-crore flyover is most of what Dhanbad district has invested in through a fund meant for mining-affected people and areas.

The latest investments made by Dhanbad under District Mineral Foundation (DMF) show that about 86 per cent of the Rs 307 crore-plus sanctions are for physical infrastructure in the town, having no bearing on the pressing needs of the mining-affected people. This includes a Rs 256 crore flyover, Rs 4 crore for LED street lighting and another Rs 5 crore town hall renovation, as per details available from the state mines department. Read more

Rs 43 billion collected by District Mineral Foundations in Odisha till April 2018, only 11% (Rs 4.8 billion) utilized

Orisssadiary.com || April 4, 2019

Bhubaneswar: -TERI’s Resource Efficiency and Governance division has been working on an important emerging issue of equitable sharing of mining benefits with communities in mineral-rich states. With a multi-disciplinary team of experts, the division has been instrumental in providing research-based innovative solutions for the socio-economic development of communities affected by mining operations as well as policy inputs to assist the goals of the government.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India’s leading think tank, has done a critical review of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) which are local institutions established in mining regions across the country for the socio-economic development of communities affected by mining operations. The title of the discussion paper is, “Benefit sharing in the mining sector: An analysis of the role of District Mineral Foundations.” Read more

Minerals Are Shared Inheritance: How Can We Ensure That Our Children Inherit Their Share?

The Logical India || Contributors Written by : Rahul Basu (Guest Author) || Edited by : Bharat Nayak || April 2nd, 2019

If mining destroys the environment, the minerals are sold and the mineral stock depleted, what is there for future generations? The National Mineral Policy 2019 lays a systematic foundation for the implementation of the Intergenerational Equity Principle. While rooted in the Constitution, some steps need to be taken quickly to reduce uncertainty to the mining industry.

How do we implement intergenerational equity? The Supreme Court has faced this question first in the Bellary iron ore scam, next in the Goa iron ore scam and later in the Odisha iron ore scam. In its judgment in the Odisha mining case (Common Cause vs Union of India & Others, WP(c) 114 of 2014), the Supreme Court of India discussed the Intergenerational Equity Principle in the context of a demand for a future generations fund and a cap on extraction and ordered a review of the National Mineral Policy 2008. Goa Foundation, the petitioner in the Goa mining cases, has advocated a holistic approach to the implementation of the intergenerational equity principle in mining. Read more

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