Illegal mining serious menace in many states,says Sonia

Three days after the government gave green signal to set up a commission to check illegal mining,UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said illegal mining has emerged...

Written by Fe Bureau | New Delhi | Published:August 20, 2010 12:02 am

Three days after the government gave green signal to set up a commission to check illegal mining,UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said illegal mining has emerged the “most serious menace” in a number of states affected by tribal deprivation and Left-wing extremist violence.

She said dealing with the Naxalites would need fundamental innovations in such a way so that the mineral resources are exploited and forests are managed.

In a Congress Parliamentary Party meeting,she said Lok Sabha debated illegal mining and “this has emerged as a most serious menace in a number of states with profound political,economic and social implications”.

The government is taking a number of initiatives like setting up of a commission of inquiry and a mining regulatory authority.

“What is most worrying is the high degree of convergence between areas that are mineral and forest-rich and areas that are the arenas of tribal deprivation and for Left-wing extremist violence,” she said,adding,“Protecting the rights of tribals and ensuring their livelihood are central to bringing about an end to their exploitation and sense of alienation.”

Referring to the Prime Minister terming the problem of Naxalism as a serious challenge,Gandhi said dealing with them “will call for fundamental innovations in the manner in which our mineral resources are exploited and our forests managed”.

On the Bhopal gas tragedy,Gandhi acknowledged that there have been inadequacies. “But we cannot remain prisoners of the past. We must look ahead and answer the question — what can we do now?— rather than what could have been done in the past?” she said.

Gandhi said the GoM has prepared a detailed agenda for action,compensation has been increased,medical facilities are being strengthened,judicial decisions are being reopened,waste disposal,decontamination and remediation activities are being finalised.

“Not a single victim should be denied justice. Equally important is the necessity to put systems in place that will ensure than no Bhopal-type manmade catastrophe repeats itself,” she said.

Referring to price rise in her speech and the adoption of a resolution to contain inflation in both the Houses,Gandhi said controlling it remains the top priority.

“Sometimes,there is simply no option as in the case of petroleum products some weeks ago. Even so,a constant vigil has to be maintained. The cooperation of the state governments is essential,” she said.

Gandhi said the Prime Minister has spoken of the need to bring about reforms in the management of our food economy and the National Advisory Council has taken up the subject and steps are being taken to fulfill the part’s manifesto pledge on food security.

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