Monday, December 24, 2007

Orissa govt to renegotiate Posco displacement problems

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BHUBANESWAR: Worried over Posco project supporters stopping land demarcation and socio-economic survey of the area, the Orissa government on Friday decided to renegotiate the problem of displacement.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who returned from a three- day visit to Delhi, told reporters here that the problems of opposition from people considered supporters of the project, would be solved through negotiation.

"We are hopeful the ground-breaking ceremony of the country's biggest FDI will be done on the scheduled date, April 1," he said adding that the displaced people would be informed about the resettlement and rehabilitation package.

He said the project would generate a good amount of revenue for the state and create employment and things would improve.

Officials on the other hand said the Jagatsinghpur district administration failed to start land demarcation and socio-economic survey of the area scheduled from this week.

Government-appointed nodal officer for the Posco-India project P Patnaik said the people should not oppose the land demarcation and socio-economic survey as it would help the administration to announce R"R package for the affected.

Farmers Exploitation By Sugar Mills In UP " Maharashtra

Farmers in UP and Maharastra continues to be exploited by mill owners in UP and Maharashtra . Both private and co-operative mill owners are equally responsible. President, Agriculture Ministers at centre and state operate Co-operatives that exploit farmers in Maharashtra was covered in News Today.

Can you imagine very few farmers get bank credit and had to take money at over 36% to 120% rate of interest don’t get paid for their produce on time that delays sowing of wheat crop?

1. High Interest to moneylenders. 2. Less prices for their produce. 3. Delayed payments. 4. Delayed starting of crushing delaying wheat crop and 5. Poor quality of seeds and inputs etc.

Farmers are subjected to al kinds of harassment leading them to suicide.

In following story you will find Ambanis were richer by 150% in just 12 months without developing any technology or new product.

Ravinder Singh December16, 2007

Ore exports may not be the part of National Mineral Policy
NEW DELHI: The much-awaited National Mineral Policy is unlikely to address the contentious issue of banning iron ore exports with the Mines Ministry putting the onus of taking a decision on finance and commerce ministries.

"The issue of exports is not part of the NMP. It is a totally separate issue which would be decided by the Finance and Commerce Ministries along with the Prime Minister's Office," Minister of State for Mines T Subbarami Reddy said.

The issue was also raised by chief ministers of five mineral-rich states during their meeting with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 19.

In their memorandum, they had said: "We strongly advocate that the export of minerals should be phased out since minerals are non-renewable and finite resources."

While the steel industry has demanded banning exports to use the mineral for their expansion plans, the Anwarul Hoda Committee, in its recommendations for the mineral policy, had favoured removing quantitative restrictions on overseas sales. It had, however, said the issue could be reviewed after a certain period.

Reddy also said that the ministry would consider the demand of mineral-rich states to bar foreign direct investment in mining of iron ore, chromite and bauxite. "We have taken note of this issue and have assured them there concerns on the issue would be addressed," he said.

The CMs of Orissa, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh had opposed FDI in prospecting of iron ore, bauxite and chromite as a lot of local entrepreneurs are undertaking operations of these minerals.

Naxal menace: Naveen seeks Centre’s help

Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: As the Maoist menace was showing no signs of decline in the State, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday sought assistance in a series of areas from the Central Government to cope with the situation.

Addressing the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi, Mr. Patnaik demanded sanction of five more India Reserve Battalions for the State.

The Chief Minister urged the Centre to assist the State in terms of manpower and financial resources to strengthen its internal security system.

He requested the Centre to expand the scope and coverage of the current police modernisation scheme. The size of police modernisation scheme for Orissa should be enhanced from Rs. 26.5 crores to Rs.60 crore, he said.

With a view to strengthening the police force, Mr. Patnaik demanded sanction of Central assistance for upgrading the capability of remaining 58 police stations located in the areas affected by naxalite violence. He also requested the Centre to consider on priority basis deployment of two more battalions of the Central paramilitary forces in the naxalite-hit regions. The Chief Minster also reiterated his demand for increased support for the proposed Vijayawada-Ranchi Highway to improve the communication network in 14 extremist-prone districts in the State. He further sought sanction of establishment of a coastal police station at Puri.

Plea for special grant

Mr. Patnaik asked the Centre to give a special grant of Rs. 30 crores for the Training Resource Centre of Special Operations Group that was coming up near Bhubaneswar. The Centre is being developed into a permanent training resource centre for counter terrorism, jungle warfare and anti-extremist operations.

With regard to the new police system that will be implemented in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack on January 1, Mr. Patnaik urged the Centre to provide Rs. 15 crores to facilitate the launching of the new police Commissionerate system. Mr. Patnaik requested the Centre to develop and implement a composite socio-economic package for the naxalite-affected areas, and a comprehensive dialogue on the developmental issues to check the spread of Left wing extremism. There was a need for relaxation of existing norms of the ongoing schemes and creation of a special fund for direct and immediate intervention to fill up the critical gaps, he suggested.

Orissa Governor releases CSE's report on mining RSS

KalingaTimes Correspondent
Bhubaneswar, Dec 21: India 's richest lands – with minerals, forests, wildlife, water sources - are home to its poorest people. Mining in India has, contrary to government's claims, done little for the development of the mineral-bearing regions of the country, says the latest publication from New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The first national release of the 356-page 6th State of India's Environment Report titled `Rich Lands, Poor People – Is Sustainable Mining Possible?' took place in the mineral-rich state of Orissa on Friday. The report was released by Orissa Governor M. C. Bhandare at a function held here.

CSE's 'State of India's Environment' reports have been widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive and authoritative series of publications on the subject of

environment and development in India. The report on mining lives up to the reputation and the promise of using knowledge for change, the organisation said in a press release.

Extensively researched and richly illustrated, the publication details the issues of mining in different states of the country, impacts on environment and people, and the policy reform that is essential to practice more 'sustainable' mining.

Rich lands, poor people
"If India 's forests, mineral-bearing areas, regions of tribal habitation and watersheds are all mapped together, they will overlay one another on almost the same areas," said Sunita Narain, Director of CSE.

The CSE report echoes her. "The three tribal-dominated states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are the most productive mineral-bearing states as well; also, the forest cover in these states is far higher than the national average," it says.

Orissa, for instance, accounts for 7 per cent of India 's forests and 11 per cent of its surface water resources – it also holds 24 per cent of India 's coal, 98 per cent of its chromite and 51 per cent of its bauxite. Mineral industries are, naturally, flocking to the state.

But for all its mineral wealth, the state performs very poorly in terms of human development indicators. The state has a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.404 – worse than that of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh or West Bengal.

The CSE report points out that Orissa's per capita income has actually declined during the second half of the 1990s – precisely the period when the state went on an industrial overdrive.

All the mineral-rich districts of the state feature in the list of 150 most backward districts of the country, says the report.

In Keonjhar, the most mined district in the state, 62 per cent of the population lives below poverty line. In Koraput, the bauxite capital of India , 79 per cent live below poverty line.

"Statistics indicate that the income from mineral extraction rarely benefits the regions from where these minerals come – in fact, poverty is increasing in many of these districts," point out the writers of the report.

Bearing the brunt: environment and people
The report paints a horrific picture of the devastation that has been wrought by mining in the country. The statistics are shocking:
* Between 1950 and 1991, mining displaced about 2.6 million people. Not even 25 per cent of these displaced have been rehabilitated.

* For every 1 per cent that mining contributes to India 's GDP, it displaces 3-4 times more people than all the development projects put together.

* Forest land diversion for mining has been going up. So has water use and air pollution in the mining hotspots.

* Mining of major minerals generated about 1.84 billion tonne of waste in 2006 – most of which has not been disposed off properly.

Orissa has the dubious distinction of clearing the maximum amount of forest land for mining in the country: of total forest land cleared for mining in India , Orissa accounts for 17 per cent. The state's water resources are as stressed, contrary to the belief that Orissa is water- surplus. The state's hilly terrains, with their natural springs, are being destroyed by mining, contends the CSE report. Orissa's second largest river, the Brahmani, is one of the 10 most polluted rivers in India – "due to the large-scale mining operations on its banks".

The state's 6 million strong tribal population has borne the brunt of these environmental impacts, says CSE, has displaced about 500,000 people (mostly tribals) in the state.

Employment is a promise not kept
All governments justify mining arguing that the sector will provide employment, but this is a chimera. The report using government data shows how employment has fallen in the mining sector as a whole. The fact is that the modern mining industry does not require people.

Between 1999 and 2005, the value of mineral production in the state increased three-fold - at the same time, employment reduced by 20 per cent.

In fact, says, Chandra Bhushan, CSE's associate director and the coordinator and co-author of the report, "Modern industrial growth requires resources of the region - minerals, water or energy. It does not require people.

"In other words, it does not necessarily provide local benefits. If it provides employment benefits, it is outside the poor region in which it is based. In other words, inclusive growth will require ways to value local resources - be it water, minerals or energy - so that it gives back more than it takes. The mineral industry degrades the land, uses local water, but does little to return back wealth. Worse, the royalty on minerals goes to state exchequers, not to local communities. This will have to change."

Is sustainable mining possible?
The CSE report points out that mining cannot be sustainable or truly environment-friendly: one, because all ore bodies are finite and non-renewable and two, because even the best managed mines leave "environmental footprints". But it also concedes that mining and minerals are necessary. "The issue is not whether mining should be undertaken or not. Rather, it is about how it should be undertaken. It is about ensuring that mining is conducted in an environmentally and socially acceptable manner," adds Chandra Bhushan.

The report goes on to recommend a range of policy initiatives that could help India meet this challenge. Some of its main recommendations include recognising people's right to say 'no' (mining should not take place without the consent of the people); independent, impartial preparation of EIA reports; disallowing mining in forests; framing stronger mine closure regulations; and "doing more with less – a key to sustainable development".

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