The new mining bill is dangerous and against the interests of both the country and tribal communities, according to CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat.

The new mining bill is dangerous and against the interests of both the country and tribal communities, according to CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat.

Addressing a convention on the new mining policy organised by AP Girijan Employees’ Welfare Association here on Wednesday, she said the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Bill 2011 proposed to further privatise the entire mining sector and give mining leases to more private companies with no room for tribal rights violating the UN Convention.

The bill was introduced, and now it was before a Standing Committee. And if it was passed, it would obliterate the rights of tribal people, Ms. Karat said. Elaborating on the main features, she said, land for exploration up to 5,000 sq km would be given to find out whether of minerals were available.

During the period, tribal people would get some compensation equal to that of 100 days of wages under employment guarantee programme.

After the exploration, if minerals were available, a minimum of 100 sq km would be given on lease.

Violating the UN Convention on Rights of Tribal people and Indigenous People, it had done away with the provision for free and informed consent of tribal people and the rights under Forest Rights Act, PESA and the Fifth Schedule were eliminated, she said. There was no need for any permission from the gram sabha, she said adding only consent of land owners would be taken.

Meagre returns

Even the returns from mining, if it was allowed, were meagre, she pointed out. A District Mineral Foundation (DMF) would be set up to which the mining companies would contribute an equivalent amount to the royalty paid to State and central governments.

Mining companies earning lakhs of crores of rupees would give a mere 8 per cent. If it was coal, they would get 26 per cent of the profit.

While the DMF would comprise the mining company owners, district officials it would have place for three tribal representatives, Ms. Karat pointed out. “It is a mockery of the UN Convention and our own laws to open gates for FDI in mining,” Ms. Karat said.

Vice-president of the association K. Satyanarayana presided. Former MPs Midiam Babu Rao and P. Madhu, CITU district secretary Ch. Narsinga Rao, M. Prasada Rao, a professor of Andhra University, associate professor of Mrs. AVN College L. Radhakrishna spoke.

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