Gadchiroli Sept. 23 (District Correspondent) The citizens from Korchi taluka and nearby areas of the district are dissatisfied with the proposed iron mines at Zendepar in Korchi taluka and are opposed to the public hearing of the Pollution Control Board scheduled to be held on October 10. For this, the All-Party Anti-Iron Mine Action Committee has been formed by the citizens to raise the issue at the government level. The office bearers of this committee met the food and Drugs Minister Dharmarao Baba Atram recently during his Korchi tour under the leadership of Mr. Kranti Kerami, President of the Committee and former ZP councillor and submitted him a memorandum demanding to cancel the public hearing on environment for the said mining project.
According to the committee, Korchi Taluka is included in Article 244 (1) and 5th Schedule of the Constitution. According to Rules 2008 of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, as amended by Rules 2012, Gram Sabhas have been given the collective forest rights of the respective areas. In such a situation, without obtaining the permission of the Gram Sabhas, mining has been proposed by allowing the iron mines to the private companies.
The All-Party Action Committee suspects that because of the mining work, the very existence of important resources like water, forest and land are most likely to be threatened. At the same time, the traditional culture, religious places and natural resources of tribals are also threatened. Therefore, the environmental related public hearing scheduled to be held on October 10 should not be held, it has been demanded.
Earlier also the public hearing was organized three times for this mining but due to people’s strong opposition, it was cancelled. However, the public hearing has again been fixed this time despite strong opposition of the people. This hearing should not at all be held, the committee has demanded. We will not allow the loss of the natural resources in the area which are the sources of livelihood of the local people, the committee has warned.
Holding such public hearings forcibly even after the opposition of the local people and the Gram Sabhas is a violation of the constitutional rights of the people, pointed out the memorandum.
Action Committee President Kranti Kerami, Vice President Shravan Matlam, Secretary Saril Madavi, Joint Secretary Kumaribai Jamkatam, Dhaniram Hidami, Ramsuram Katenge and many other activists were present on this occasion.
The tender process of the Zendepar Iron Mine has been completed and as many as five companies have been allotted the mining work on around 47 hectares of the forest land on Zendepar Hills in Korchi taluka. R. M. Rajurkar has been allotted 9 hectares of land, Anuj Mines and Minerals has been given 12 hectares, Nirmalchand Jain on 10.30 hectares, Anojkumar Agarwal on 12 hectares and Manojkumar Sariya on 4 hectares of land, according to the memorandum.