Lobbying and Advocacy with Parliamentarians (17-19 July 2019)
Delegates from Samata and Mines, Minerals and People (mm&P) met with parliamentarians from various states to discuss and raise issues relating to illegal mining, Samata Judgment, children in the mining areas and District Mineral Foundation (DMF). Kirodilal Meena, MP from Rajasthan raised an important issue of the implementation of Samata Judgment in Rajasthan. Samata Judgment 1997, protects the land of the tribal people under the Vth Schedule of the Constitution. Transfer of land in Scheduled Areas by way of lease to non tribals, corporation aggregate, etc. stands prohibited to prevent their exploitation in any form. However, it has been more than 2 decades but the implementation of the judgment in the 10 Vth Scheduled area states has been dismal. The judgment has called for a Conference of all Chief Ministers, Ministers holding the Ministry concerned and Prime Minister, and Central Ministers concerned should take a policy decision for a consistent scheme throughout the country in respect of tribal lands. However, this has not taken place. In this regard, we have urged Member of Parliament Dr. Kirodilal Meena to raise the issue of implementation of Samata Judgment in the entire country which will help in the protection of tribal community.
We have taken up the issue of children in mining areas with Shri L. Hanumanthaiah, and Shri Naseer Hussain, MPs from Karnataka and they assured that they will raise these important issues in the Parliament. The tragedy is that “mining children” are nobody’s children. The ministry or department of mines does not look after children and those ministries or departments that look after children, such as Departments or Ministries of Social Welfare, Labor, Women and Child Development, Education, Tribal Welfare do not have mining areas on their radar. Some of the impacts on children include- increased morbidity and illness, malnutrition, exploitation and abuse, increase in child labor etc. There is an need for inclusion of children in mining laws and convergence of department and ministries to benefit the children.
Shri Mansukh Bhai Vasava, MP from Gujarat raised the issue of illegal mining in the Parliament. In the reply the concerned minister stated that in the year 2018-19 alone 115492 cases of illegal mining has been registered. Illegal mining has huge repercussions on the socio-economic and environmental balance of the country. The government should take strict measures to curb illegal mining.
The Delegation also met National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) Vice Chairperson Smt. Ansuya Uikey and Members Shri Hiralal Damor and Shri Mahesh Vasava to discuss the issues of forest rights violations in the Vth Schedule Areas and other governance issues. Displacement due to development projects is the highest amongst the tribals. This issue was brought to the notice of the Commission and urged them to take steps for timely rehabilitation and resettlement.
We have urged the Parliamentarians to raise the issue of involvement of gram sabha in the decision making in DMF Committee. The Chhattisgarh Government recently announced the inclusion of two members of the gram sabha in the DMF Committee. This should be replicated all across the country.
Forest Rights has been another focus area of the advocacy program. The Draft Indian Forest Act, 2018 mandated all the state governments to hold consultations with all the stakeholders to access the situation of the forests. However, the states have not yet initiated the process. We have urged the parliamentarians to take up this issue.
Delegates from mm&P– Mr.Ravi Rebbapragada- Chairperson mm&P, Mr. Ashok Shimali, Secretary general MM&P, Mr. Deme Oram, Mr. Mukesh Birua, Mr. Raju Pandara, Mr. Shivkumar malagi, Mr. Swaraj das
Delegates from Samata– Mr. Mithun Raj, Mr. B.P. Yadav and Ms. Sree Harica
Parliamentarians– Shri Mansukh Bhai Vasava, Shri Prabhu Bhai Vasava, Dr. Kirodilal Meena, Mr. Naseer Hussain and Mr. L. Hanumanthaiah
News – Counterview