‘Mining and fraudulent’ clearances in Manipur

Jajo Themson
Contd from previous issue
Series of community objections
There have been series of objections from Civil Society organizations and concerned villagers in Manipur especially in the hill districts against the proposed chromium and limestone mining. The main reason behind is either due to fraudulent clearance undermining the rights of the resource owners or due to complete absence of such mandatory clearance. The concerned villagers neither have detailed knowledge about mining plan nor were consulted, confirming that no consent were ever sought from the indigenous community so far. This is the prime factor why the villagers of Shingcha, Kamjong district, in its Emergency Assembly held on 27 September, 2020, resolved to stand against the proposed chromium mining plan at Shingcha village. Further, the Rilram Area Maring Organisation (RAMO), Tengnoupal district on 3rd October, 2020 unanimously resolved to prohibit any form of No Objection Certificate (NOC) or agencies or departments related to mass mining of chromite. Moreover, village chiefs of Molnoi and representatives of students’ and women organisations, Tengnoupal district on 8th October, 2020 resolved to stand against any form of mining in Manipur without recognition of peoples’ rights over their land, resources and consent. In yet another development, the Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) on 27th November, 2020 expressed its grave concern and called to desist mining in Ukhrul and Kamjong districts.
In the light of the above discussion, it is crystal clear that the proposed chromium and limestone mining in Ukhrul, Kamjong and Tengnoupal district in Manipur are without mandatory clearances. It is illegal as per the NGT Court judgment 7th May, 2015 as well as undermines the Supreme Court Order dated 16th July 2013, defeating the rights of mineral ownership of indigenous land and mineral. It also violates the right and powers conferred on the Autonomous District Council under the V & VI Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Further, the same also defeats the SC judgment on Samatha Bauxite Mining case, 1997 which clearly recognized the rights of the tribal on land and resources.
Therefore in conclusion, it is compelling that project developers and mining companies strictly adhere to the procedural norms, rules and guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forest-Climate Change (MoEFCC) and comply with the relative judgments of the Supreme Court and NGT on mineral mining. Least impacts on forest and environment and their mitigating measures through standard Detail Impacts Assessment (DIA) are compulsory in the interest of safeguarding the fragile world ecosystem. Full and legitimate clearances should be acquired. Necessary conditions provided in the FRA, 2006 in acquiring mandatory clearances should be fully complied with so that there is transparency and accountability in the process. In the absence of which, the initiative of chromium and limestone mining projects are not free from diverse angles of confrontation from environment, health, livelihood, land and resource ownership rights and other human rights complications. If mining is for development, be it a sustainable development that doesn’t effect environment and victimize human beings.  Additionally, mineral mining should be pro-environment and pro-social perspectives so that the true terms of sustainable development could be achieved.   
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