Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Rights group slams 'lawless' Indian mining industry
by Staff Writers
Mumbai, India (AFP) June 14, 2012

Human Rights Watch blasted the Indian government on Thursday for failing to regulate the country's "out of control" mining industry which it said fuelled corruption and damaged local communities.

The report from New York-based group said it was "hard to overstate" the scale of lawlessness in the multi-billion-dollar mining sector, with grave consequences for human rights and the environment.

"The government has encouraged lawlessness by failing to enforce the law or even monitor whether mine operators are complying with it," said Meenakshi Ganguly, the group's South Asia director.

Without any oversight, mining operations often caused "immense destruction", she said.

Researchers interviewed more than 80 people mainly in southwestern Goa and Karnataka, key iron mining states, where farmers told them mine operators had destroyed or contaminated vital water sources for drinking and irrigation.

Some spoke of thick layers of dust on their crops from continuous iron ore trucks passing through their villages, "destroying them and threatening economic ruin," said the report.

Residents also expressed fears they might suffer from serious health problems as the dust coated their homes and schools, while people who tried to speak out about the problems had faced intimidation or violence.

"All of these allegations echo common complaints about mining operations across many parts of India," the report said.

It added that the government's failure to monitor India's 2,600 authorised mining operations had provided fertile ground for a series of notorious corruption scandals in recent years.

One case led an Indian court to suspend all mining activity in a district of Karnataka last year where companies were accused of conniving with government officials to mine ore illegally.

The scam cost the state and federal exchequers $3.6 billion, a corruption ombudsman said, and state chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, accused of playing a central role, resigned after the scandal broke.

HRW said a key problem in mining was the "hopelessly dysfunctional" process of environmental clearance, often granted on the strength of impact reports commissioned and funded by the companies seeking permission.

The report pointed to the case of a mine in western Maharashtra state that received clearance despite its assessment containing chunks of data taken verbatim from a report written for a bauxite mine in Russia.

Law enforcement was described as an even bigger problem, with just a few dozen officials to oversee impacts of every Indian mine -- on top of many other industries -- making proper on-the-ground monitoring impossible.

The rights group called for fundamental changes to mining regulation and an assessment of the damage already done already under the current "woefully inadequate regime".

The report comes after state-run Coal India, responsible for 80 percent of the nation's coal output, has been struggling to meet targets.

In April the government directed the mining giant to sign guaranteed supply deals with domestic power producers after industrialists said a lack of coal was stalling plans to build new plants to address India's chronic energy shortage.

In the latest in a slew of graft allegations to rock India, the government stands accused of giving away coal deposits instead of selling them through auction, at the cost of $210 billion in revenues.


Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Tackle rising population, consumption: science academies
Paris (AFP) June 14, 2012
The world's science academies on Thursday warned the upcoming Rio Summit that Earth faced a dangerous double whammy posed by voracious consumption and a population explosion. The warning was issued by 105 academies ahead of the June 20-22 UN conference on sustainable development, where leaders will debate the planet's worsening environmental health and its entrenched poverty. The signato ... read more

Japan to develop drones to monitor radiation

Study predicts imminent irreversible planetary collapse

Japan agency sorry for comparing radiation to wife

Lithuania launches regional nuclear safety watchdog

Japanese restrict atomic exposure testing

Microsoft reaches into TV market with Xbox Live ads

iPad to drive stronger tablet sales worldwide: study

New national supercomputer to perform astronomical feats

India's capital in water crisis after supplies cut

Experts lament poor ocean progress in 20 years

Please stop Xingu dam, Amazonian Indians plead at summit

The downstream consequences of depleting groundwater

North-East Passage soon free from ice again

NASA Discovers Unprecedented Blooms of Ocean Plant Life

Will The Ice Age Strike Back

Secure, sustainable funding for Indigenous participation in Arctic Council a key priority

A New Way of Looking at Photosystem II

China firm recalls baby formula tainted with mercury

Maize diversity discoveries may help ease world's hunger pangs

EU, China agree on ag sustainability

Quake-hit Afghan village could become mass grave

Undersea volcano gave off signals before eruption in 2011

More than 70 feared dead in Afghan quakes

Afghan quakes kill at least three: officials

US expanding secret spy bases in Africa: report

UN trade body says Africa must embrace sustainable economy

Madagascan community sets example of saving environment

Botswana, climate and tourism

More people, more environmental stress

How infectious disease may have shaped human origins

Homo heidelbergensis was only slightly taller than the Neanderthal

Fossil discovery sheds new light on evolutionary history of higher primates

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement