Environics Trust (MMP Network)

Project Theme

Natural Resource Management

Target Group

Tribals

Project Period

01 Jul 2014 - 30 Jun 2015

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Introduction

Oxfam and Environics Trust aim to continue the ongoing work on appraisal of rights, to enable communities to assert their rights in mining areas and establish a facility to regularly interact with the legislators.

Impact by partner

During the previous year, representation of alliance campaign on mining bill and assertion of rights was carried into different forums of people and government. During the Parliament session in August 2013 all mm&P members gathered to discuss and listen to the MPs in a round table organised in Delhi. There is a wholesome support to the issue of mining and impacts in particular and also on the legislative front, this has also led us to think about the tribal desk.

Training modules on land and allied laws (central) and specific to Orissa were developed along with the modules on mining with recent orders of Supreme Court on terming ‘deemed renewal’ or extension as illegal. Based on these two modules, training programmes were held in Nagpur, Maharashtra and Rourkela, Orissa. These trainings focused on specific capacity building and pointed action research and also suggestions on improvements. These modules will be converted into a tool-kit with reading materials in a systematic manner.

An action research on Unwed Mothers in Mining Areas was done to highlight the problem in specific pockets of Orissa. A follow up on this aspect will be done by Environics Trust in association with other mm&P members as this problem is widespread in mining areas.

Executive council meeting took place in the backdrop of ‘Gaon Sthapana Divas’ in Singhbhum (Jharkhand) in December 2013. Several members from Chaibasa, Bastar, Talcher took stock of the status in field and sought information on strengthening their campaign to assert their claims. The members have followed up with the Members of Parliament to gain support in establishing tribal desk across the party lines.

Case Study

BACKGROUND

Mining is environmentally one of the most disturbing activities. The growing demand for minerals fuelled by the liberalised market has meant that more areas will be brought under mining. Mining has been found to be the most devastating activity for local communities. Inputs provided to local communities and struggle groups have found value in local negotiations and in legal action.

ACTIVITIES

A. Mining in and around Borra caves, Visakhapatnam distt., A.P. India.

Borra Caves are the largest and deepest Karst caves in India. Mining leases contravene land regulations, and mining activities were affecting this unique geological heritage. The study formed the basis for legal action. A set of documents describing the caves and the environmental impacts were developed. The Court intervened to stop mining and a local group was entrusted the role of guiding tourists visiting the caves.

B. Impacts of Calcite Mining and Sea-water Magnesia Plant

A series of reports were prepared involved in the then proposed Nimmalapadu Calcite Mine and Birla Periclase Sea-water Magnesia Factory (later established and abandoned). The first report brought out by Academy presented an overview of the plant and mine site, its general population details, socio-economic condition, land use etc. while the second report detailed out the environmental impacts, economic impacts, legal conflicts involved in the project. This report presented in detail the economic loss to the community through land, forest and its allied activities etc. It also sought for appropriate compensation through this estimation. It also projected the indirect social impacts that will be inflicted on the local people on the onset of project.

This effort supported the legal action undertaken by Samatha. The case went from the State High Court to the Supreme Court of India after a reversal of decision affecting the local people. The Supreme Court's decisive and historic judgement, of closing down the mining activities in all Tribal regions of the State has provided a great relief to several tribal communities in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

Lasting Relationships

The realization by several agencies and communities has given a boost to the efforts of several struggle groups in the mining areas of the country through the formation of mines, minerals and People. There are nearly 150 groups which are associated with the emerging alliance.