Thursday, May 31, 2007

the latest 2 frontline editions carried 2 very simple but brilliant articles on mining situation in orissa. 'development' in orissa is indeed 'dangerous'. dangerous to environment, dangerous to the people and dangerous for everybody.

oh yeah, dangerous for everybody except big time industrialists, their sleazy contractors and the development mongering politicians.

some excerpts from the article is below.

Down the road from the mines, the residents of Deojhar have seen their streams dry up, the water table fall and the soil lose its fertility in the six years since Jindal began operations. "The very basis of village life has fallen apart since the project began," says Sridhar Nayak, a leader in Deojhar. The crops have died, there is no place to graze cattle, people cannot collect firewood in the project area and the handpumps yield foul, yellowish water. Nayak says the inevitable dust that any project breeds has severely affected the health of the residents, particularly the young, among whom the number of cases of lung congestion has increased.

The reality of Orissa's iron ore mines, where the promise of prosperity is just empty rhetoric. An average family with a small rice farm and a betel vine patch along the beach is estimated to earn between Rs.10,000 and Rs.12,000 a month. "The project will destroy our livelihoods," says Shantilata Behera, a resident of Gadakujang. "They say they bring jobs, but we already have jobs, we have fields and we have boats."

Village after village, panchayat after panchayat, community after community, the story of eviction, displacement, shattered livelihoods and exploitation repeat themselves with mind-numbing continuity. Every settlement exists in a state of almost permanent insecurity, suspicious of every move of the government, the companies and even their own fellow settlers. Iron belt or agricultural land, beach settlement or reserve forest, everything is up for grabs in Orissa.

development is indeed mind numbing....

(Mining, transportation of iron ore and dumping of waste have transformed the Joda block in Keonjhar district from a green belt into a surreal moonscape. picture courtesy frontline.)

(Hundreds of hectares of forests have been lost to mining over the years in a situation where encroachments are impossible to monitor. The most common illegality is to continue mining long after the lease has ended. picture courtesy frontline.)


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