Precious Wayanad in Peril

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Wayanad is home to Edakkal Caves, a group of ancient, natural caves, with stone age carvings believed to be around 8000 years old. Located amidst the precious Western Ghats, the huge rocky hills near Edakkal now face the threat of several illegal quarries that blast the hills off to feed the market for sand and gravel. Uncontrolled tourism is also adding to the environmental degradation. Tourists who come from every part of the country litter plastic bags and beer bottles, … Read More

Developmental Activities Have ‘Seriously Impacted’ Districts Of Ratnagiri And Sindhudurg, Says Expert Panel

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The entire districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in southern Maharashtra have been “seriously impacted, both environmentally and socially, by a number of mining, power projects and polluting industries”, says a report submitted by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP). The impacts mentioned include pollution (noise, air and ground water), depletion of fisheries, deforestation, siltation of water bodies and “loss of unique biodiversity elements”, among many others. The report claims that there are also numerous illegal activities in these areas … Read More

Government Admits Possible Excessive Diversion Of Forests For Mining

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The government admitted in the Lok Sabha that it could have allowed excessive diversion of forests for mining activities. But it gave an assurance that it will strictly adhere to ‘go and no-go areas’ and not permit exploitation of dense woods. Maneka Gandhi of the BJP had alleged during Question Hour that the government had cut down one lakh hectare of forests for mining and 30,000 hectare of this was during the tenure of environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh. … Read More

CEC Report Calls Mining in Chitradurga and Tumkur Illegal and Irresponsible

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The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court, submitted a report that agrees with the Karnataka Lokayukta in calling the iron ore mining in Chitradurga and Tumkur districts as illegal and irresponsible. The amicus curiae, A D N Rao has said that the adverse effects in both districts were identical to the one witnessed in Bellary and has advocated that mining be controlled by the apex court, as it was done in Bellary. The court has issued a … Read More

Supreme Court Suspends Mining in Bellary, Karnataka

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The Supreme Court suspended mining in 10,868 hectares in Bellary district of Karnataka. The court also said that the Ministry of Environment and Forests will come out with a report on how much Iron ore is needed for the country’s steel industry and also spell out how much is to be domestic and how much needs to be imported. The bench’s decision came after a report from the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) that said that illegal mining was not only … Read More

Immense Environmental Toll of Coal Mining in India

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Coal mining threatens many of India’s sensitive wildlife habitats as the coal ministry is pressing the Ministry of Environment and Forests for access to even more forested areas. In 2009, the ministry had categorized 203 coal blocks as no-go areas. However, early this year it agreed to relax the no-go constraint on 53-percent of these areas, apparently under pressure from the coal ministry. Under a later meeting in April, this rose to 71-percent of the reserved areas and apparently, under … Read More

Mining in the hills

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Quarrying for stone and granite (mostly illegal) is a typical sight in many hilly areas and cause disastrous and irreversible changes to natural habitats. Those engaged in illegal mining are typically businessmen who operate with the tacit support of certain corrupt elements in local village offices, the police and the mining and geology department. They hire migrant labourers and use unlawfully procured explosives to blast rock formations in ecologically sensitive areas without government permission. The racketeers use politically influential goondas … Read More