JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use the Site in standard view. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To use standard view, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options.

| Last Updated:29/05/2020

Latest News


Green min panel bypasses own rules

The Times of India, New Delhi, 17th May, 2013

The environment ministry’s statutory expert panel, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), has bypassed its rules and earlier orders to clear iron mining projects by three private firms in the country’s best sal forest and the core zone of the elephant reserve in the Saranda forest division of Jharkhand.

In what could threaten the UPA’s much-touted Saranda Development Plan to counter Left wing extremism, the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) — headed by the Prime Minister — has given its stamp of approval to the two firms and now nod for the third company seems like a mere formality.

With the all-powerful CCI and the Jharkhand government on the same page, this could open the floodgates of a gold rush for mineral resources as the state government has prepared a list of 155 mines to be opened in the 800sq km of prime forestland.

The latest of the three projects to be cleared belongs to Rungta Mines Limited, threatening to ravage the virgin forestland that is nestled between its existing old mines.

Ironically, Jharkhand government officials spoke in two voices. They noted that the nearby rivers had been polluted by existing mines in the forest patch located in an “ecologically-sensitive zone”.

Simultaneously, they argued that the mining project holds the key for “overall economic growth of state and country”. In fact, they came up with a ‘unique’ model to enrich Saranda’s pachyderm population by diverting funds from the gains made from mining activities.

Rungta Mines Ltd claims that it has given a jeep to the state forest department as per its demands for conservation and protection of wildlife, besides providing mandatory funds for compensatory afforestation and attendant measures.

The state government officials had given similar self-confounding arguments, while promoting the other two projects. Though they cited that the ventures were located in prime forestland and elephant reserve, there was no hurdle to their clearance.

Saranda, the hotbed of Maoists activities till 2011, was cleared by the paramilitary forces. And, the UPA showcased its Saranda Development Plan as a sure-fire way to win tribals’ hearts and keep the naxals at bay.

It was decided that no private firms would be allowed to mine iron ore from one of the best sal forests, which has also a declared elephant reserve.