MAC: Mines and Communities

Statement on World Mining Congress - Press Release

Published by MAC on 2003-11-03

Statement on World Mining Congress - Press Release

mines, minerals & PEOPLE (mm&P)

November 3, 2003

mm&P, the national alliance of mining affected communities, condemned the ostentatious display of the mining companies and the governments at the 19th World Mining Congress being held in New Delhi. Criticising vehemently the Mining Congress for the conspicuous lack of statement on social and cultural implications of expansion in mining activities, the representatives pointed out that the WMC could as well stand for Weapons for Mass Carnage in display.

Speaking at the screening of a series of short films on the struggles against mining in India, the Convenor of the New Delhi Centre, Mr R.Sreedhar said that these films were only to provide a `reality-check' for the mining big-whigs. The cases of Kashipur and Pakur are only a small window into the real carnage that is taking place all across the country in the name of `industrial development'.

Taking a dig at President Abdul Kalam's inaugural address, he said the vision reflects the urge to be a global player even if the people and particularly the tribals of the country, were totally wiped out for producing missile grade aluminium to further accelerate the urge for mindless wars the world over. He reminded the President of his predecessor's Republic day speech of 2001, which reads 'Let it not be said of India, that this great republic in a hurry to develop itself is devastating the green mother earth and uprooting our tribal population'. Sreedhar cautioned the decision makers and the corporates that they cannot bull-doze people for their benefits even if they think that the state is backing. Laws and judicial system in the country are still in place and the local communities are able to understand all the deceitful tactics of the invaders.

Mr Xavier Dias, the Convenor for North and North East Centre, gave examples of the livelihoods and heritage sites in Jharkhand that were being mercilessly uprooted by the Indian Coal Giant, Coal India, with the financial support of multilaterals and bilaterals. The Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee and other local groups are determined to resist any mindless expansion of mining. Reiterating a long-standing demand of mm&P and other groups for a moratorium on new mines and launching corrective measures in existing mines, he warned the global mining companies to be prepared for a stiff opposition to their endeavours.

The representatives of Kashipur and Lanjigarh struggles in Orissa, Pachwara and other coal areas in Jharkhand present during the screening have come all the way to let the world know that their lands and livelihoods cannot be destroyed for an economy that is born out of violence and feeds for global warfare and consumerism.

Souparna Lahiri, member of the National Steering Committee and Coordinator of Delhi Forum said the foundation stones being laid in the Mining Congress for exploiting nearly a third of the country's wealth is ill founded. He called for alternatives to this entire development paradigm.

mm&P also recognizes the hazards of the thrust being given to ocean bed mining and disposal of wastes in the sea. Sensing this as a serious threat the National Fishworkers Forum has expressed concern over the acceleration of activities in the oceans.

R Sreedhar Xavier Dias
Convenor, New Delhi Convenor, N & NE, Ranchi

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