Lobbying with Parliamentarians – Winter Session 2017

Samata along with its national alliance mines, minerals and People with a delegation from 8 states across the country has met with the parliamentarians from various political parties to submit its memorandum in New Delhi from 19th December to 22nd December’ 2017. The delegation led by Mr Ashok Shrimali, Secretary General from mines, mineral and People and included several eminent tribal activists.

The main objectives behind the dialogue

  1. To reflect the state – specific issues and challenges faced by the local community people living in the mining areas at the National platform.
  2. To take cognizance of the severity of the problems faced by children and initiate suitable measures to minimize the same by bringing them to the notice and knowledge of Honorable state and central ministers.
  3. To address aforementioned issues and inclusion of children in the mining laws.
  4. To initiate dialogue among all the tribal MPs across the parties to take cognizance on the tribal issues and work collectively for the betterment of the tribal people.

Dialogue and Response:

The delegation met with senior political leaders and Members of Parliament across the parties.

19th December’ 2017: The delegation met with Senior politician Mr Harish Rawat, ex-Chief Minister of Uttarakhand (INC), and Dr Heena Gavit, Member of Parliament (BJP) from Nandurbar, Maharashtra and discussed with them on the aforementioned issues and submitted the memorandum to raise in the parliament.

Mr Harish Rawat: He suggested the tribal groups to continue fighting and said that he will raise all the issues mentioned in the memorandum and will talk to other MPs in the Parliament on the issues raised by the delegation.

Dr Heena Gavit: With regard to the situation of tribal people, non-governance and poor implementation of PESA, 1996, she said that awareness on PESA is lacking at many places and PESA should be implemented and the guidelines should be framed at all the scheduled areas. Every Gram Panchayat member should be trained about the provisions of PESA and the powers of the Gram Sabha.

She also said that pattas should be given to those people whose land is being used for mining purposes and that people should be either made shareholders of 50% of the profit earned in the form of mining royalty or they should be given money per sq.ft as per market value.

She also suggested that the tribal MPs should raise the issues of their respective areas in the Parliament as they are the local representatives at the national platform.

20th December’ 2017: The delegation met with Prof. Rajeev Gowda, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha (INC) from Karnataka, Mr Arjunlal Meena, Member of Parliament (BJP) from Udaipur, Rajasthan, Mr K.K.Ragesh, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha [CPI(M)] from Kerala and discussed with them on the aforementioned issues and submitted the memorandum to raise in the parliament.

Prof. Rajeev Gowda: He said for the issues like compensation for the land, rehabilitation & resettlement for the displaced communities, a lot of action should be taken at the district level and that he would write to respective District Magistrates, Collectors and concerned Ministers of the respective states.

As an alternative, he suggested that the villagers should mine themselves as the land belongs to them and they should give a certain percentage of the royalty to the Government. He also mentioned that the opinion of the tribal communities should be considered with regard to mining and their rejection should be recognized.

Mr Arjunlal Meena: With regard to industrial corridors, he said that for the sake of growth & development of a particular place, the tribals, their living and their income generation should not suffer. There should be some balance like if the development projects are not beneficial to them; they should also not cause any problems for them.

In regard to the treatment of Silicosis in the state of Rajasthan, Mr Meena agreed that treatment centres should also be opened in the places like Udaipur, Boondi (Rajasthan) so that treatment is available to all the people and they don’t require to travel to far off places like Jodhpur. Mr Meena also assured that he would raise all the issues in the Parliament.

Mr K.K. Ragesh: Listening to all the aforementioned issues, he asked to send all the particular issues of the respective areas and he would raise them in the Parliament. He suggested that people should keep fighting and voice should be raised, otherwise, there won’t be any use.

21st December’ 2017: The delegation met with Mr Mansukhbhai Vasava, Senior Member of Parliament(BJP) from Bharuch, Gujarat, Mr Ramappa from INC & and  Schedule Tribes Front, Ms Anusuiya Uikey, ex- Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Deputy Commissioner, National Commission of Schedule Tribes, Mr Jitendra Choudhury, Member of Parliament, CPI(M) from Tripura East, Senior Politicians Ms Brinda Karat, Member of Parliament [CPI(M)] Rajya Sabha from West Bengal and Mr Mallikarjun Kharge, Member of Parliament (INC) from Karnataka,  and Honourable Minister of State for Steel and Mines, Govt. of India & Member of Parliament Mr Vishnu Deo Sai from Raigarh, Chhattisgarh and discussed with them on the aforementioned issues and submitted the memorandum to raise in the parliament.

Mr Mansukhbhai Vasava: The delegation met Mr Mansukh Bhai Vasava and had a dialogue on PESA, children in mining areas, Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the relevance of Samata Judgment and communities command over natural resources. Mr Vasava reassured the delegation to raise the issues in the ongoing session in the parliament. Mr Vasava extended his solidarity and advised the team to keep fighting.

With regard to the tribal population percentage being same for all these years, he said that the Charans, Rabbari & Bharwat of Gujarat, Dhangars of Maharashtra and Lambadas of Telangana & Odisha were given tribal status & certificates by the govt. in spite of them not being tribals and the tribal population were deprived of their rights.

Mr Ramappa: Listening to all the issues from the respective states like PESA not being implemented in all the scheduled areas, children in mining areas, Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor, relevance of Samata Judgment and communities command over natural resources, Mr Ramappa suggested the team to keep fighting, so that the opposition can raise the issues in the Parliament.

Ms Anusuiya Uikey: With regard to the issue of resettlement of some tribal villages in the region of Kanker and Bastar, Chhattisgarh, the deputy commissioner had asked for further details like population, village names etc.

On the issue of Tribal Cooperatives especially in mining or even share for the affected community, she asked to provide detailed recommendations on how to proceed and also assured loans as seed capital for these cooperatives.

On the issue of National Mineral Policy consultation process being exclusive and not inclusive, she sought further information on our submissions. Her general suggestion was to give specific representations with recommendations which she can further take up.

Mr Jitendra Chaudhary Ms Brinda Karat: Both agreed that all the tribal MPs across the party should come together and initiate a dialogue regarding the tribal issues all over the country. They suggested that the dialogue should be arranged sometime when the Parliament sessions are going on. Ms Karat also suggested the women’s groups to keep fighting for the betterment of the country.

Mr Malikarjun Khadge: The delegation expressed its concerns over the aforesaid issues and demanded their intervention in the parliament. Listening to the concerns, Mr Khadge advised the local groups to continue fighting. He reassured to take up and raise all the issues in the Parliament.

Mr Vishnu Deo Sai: With regard to the DMF funds being used for the betterment of the mining- affected communities especially children’s education, women’s empowerment, Mr Sai said that in the state of Chhattisgarh, DMF funds are being properly utilized for the welfare of the mining-affected communities especially in Jaspur where the state govt. has taken various initiatives for children’s education, health training is provided to the nurses and vocational training programs.

He also said that mining affected communities can be made shareholders in the profit earned by the mining companies and for this new law has to be framed. Explaining further he said that land has to be taken for mining as it is the national property but in lieu of land, land cannot be returned as enough land is not enough.

22nd December’ 2017: The delegation met Tribal Affairs Minister, Mr Jual Oram (BJP) and Mr Oscar Fernandes, Senior Member of Parliament (INC) from Karnataka and requested the ministers and parliamentarians to take up the issues, raise them in the parliament and demand for appropriate actions.

Mr Jual Oram: Hearing the delegation, he asked to send the state-specific issues and he would look into the matter. Regarding DMIC, he said that he will take action in the context of 50% of the schedules areas in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra being covered.

He also said that he would take some action with regard to the notification that has been issued by the governor of Maharashtra with regard to not seeking the permission of Gram Sabhas for setting up any new development projects.

Mr Oscar Fernandes: Hearing to the delegation, he said that he would talk and refer the issues to the Standing Committee of the Parliament and the Labour Minister.

In the District Level Consultations held at Asansol, West Bengal and Dumka, Jharkhand there were discussions on Rampal Thermal Power Plant, Illegal Coal Mining in Asansol, PESA, Samata Judgement, Cooperative Mining, Schedule V & VI areas, Implementation and importance of District Mineral Foundation, Status of Tribals, Future Generation Fund, Financial Crisis in Jharkhand , situation of children in the mining areas and consequences on their education, health due to air and water pollution, malnutrition issues etc. It was also said that the mining leases to the companies should be given rationally following all the rules and regulations. There were also discussions on how to address the violation of child rights, migration and trafficking issues among children.