Illegal coal mining slows amid strict vigil during Lok Sabha polls

Financial Express | Indronil Roychowdhury | April 19, 2019

Mine workers in Sardih, Salanpur, Khaskenda, Neokenda, Pandebswar, Harishpur and Haripur said illegal mining at present has come to a halt and the depots from where the illegal coal are despatched in dumpers have been shut down.

Illegal coal mining has slowed down in the belts of Eastern Coalfields (ECL), with seizures taking place all over India to curb illegal election fundings. ECL is one of the country’s hottest beds for illegal coal mining which take place despite strict vigilance of Coal India (CIL) and the Central Industrial Security Force ( CISF) . Read more

Endowment funds created through DMFs can protect projects against price fluctuations

Financial Express | Joyita Ghose | April 19, 2019

Endowment funds created through District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) can increase the period for which funds are available and protect projects against price fluctuations.

A recent report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on coal and steel examines the functioning of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) and finds that fund utilisation has been much lower than expected. DMFs are district-level institutions that receive a share of mineral revenues and use these to fund projects to improve access to drinking water, healthcare, education, and sanitation, amongst others. The report of the Standing Committee states that only 23% of the total amount collected had been utilised till August 2018. More recent numbers tell a similar story, with approximately 23% of the `245.3 billion collected by DMFs across the country having been utilised till January. Read more

Extensive amendment to forest law will dehumanise forests

Down To Earth | Ishan Kukreti | April 18, 2019

As 300 million forest dwellers across India heaved a sigh of relief after the Supreme Court stayed its own order to evict encroachers on February 28 this year, the Union government was sharpening its axe with a new amendment to the Indian Forest Act (IFA), 1927. On March 7, a document marked “secret” landed on the desks of forest chiefs in all states. It was sent by Noyal Thomas, India’s Inspector General of Forests (forest policy), and it contained a proposal to replace IFA, the colonial Act. For the first time, a calculated move was being made to dismantle the community-driven forest governance and strengthen the hands of the forest bureaucracy. Read more

Tribal sub plans fail under Modi regime; Adivasis deprived of benefits in last five years

National Herald | Krishna Jha/IPA | April 16, 2019

Among the objectives of the Tribal Sub Plan has been to look after the basic needs of the tribals. The records show that the money was spent, but never to serve the needs of the targeted masses

Each of government plan has its own tragic story. One burning example is Tribal Sub Plan (TSP). Brain child of Planning Commission, it became Scheduled Tribe Component as the Planning Commission became NITI Ayog.  Read more

SC notice to Centre, Odisha on plea to cancel 358 mining leases

Odisha Sun Times | April 17, 2019

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from the Centre, Odisha, Karnataka and the CBI on a PIL seeking cancellation of 358 iron ore mining leases which were allocated or their duration extended without any fresh evaluation and adopting the due auction process.

Also seeking response on the plea for quashing of Section 8A of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, the bench of Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer appointed senior counsel P.S. Narasimha as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.

The PIL says that the Section 8A of the MMDR Act, 1957, which provides for grant of a mining lease for minerals other than coal, lignite and atomic minerals, is “illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional”. Read more

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