|Green lobby opposes opening up forests for mining
Wed March 16, 2011, by IANS
Delhi, March 16 (IANS) With over a week left for group of ministers
(GoM) on forests to decide on “go, no-go” areas for mining,
environmentalists Wednesday appealed to the central government that
forests should not be opened up for the activity.
“As a concept,
‘no-go’ is acceptable but that does not mean that ‘go’ areas should be
opened up for mining,” said Ritwick Dutta from Lawyers Initiative for
Forest and Environment.
Civil society groups have criticised the
GoM on coal mining and other development projects for what they have
termed its lopsided constitution, lack of public consultation and
The GoM chaired by Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee is scheduled to meet March 25 to identify forest areas in
which mining can be allowed.
Calling for greater transparency
and consultation around the GoM’s deliberations, Ashish Fernandes of
Greenpeace India said: “It is a mockery of democracy that a handful of
ministers are deciding the fate of over 600,000 hectares (6,000 sq km)
of India’s forests, behind closed doors and without any public
“Coal mining has huge environmental and social
impact and any decision on sacrificing forest areas for coal has to
address these issues,” he said.
“There is not a single example
of a coal mine in this country that has not had devastating impact on
livelihood and the environment. Angul in Orissa and Bokaro in Jharkhand
are just two of the many examples,” said R. Sreedhar from NGO Mines,
Minerals and People.
read full story here