February 23, 2010

life in general & financial markets: (part 2) excessive-consumerism-driven ugly mining

(continued from part 1 posted in October 2009...)

Mining of natural resources is the most problematic area with fake capitalists, in conjunction with corrupt government functionaries (politicians and bureaucrats) and local thugs, exploiting the lax environmental laws of countries like India either openly or through the loop holes.

Early this month, a news report (an entire cut-and-paste copy is given at the end below) stated that some mining officials in the eastern Indian state of Orissa (in the northern part of the state, just south of the state of Jharkhand) stumbled upon 600 tonnes of iron ore that was illegally mined from surrounding forest areas (see the red-circled portion in the first map below).

These were stockpiled in two railway yards in the state at Banspani in Keonjhar district and Juruli in Sundergarh district. Among several mining sites, Tata Steel and one Aditya Birla group company have their mining plants around Banspani (see the second map below). Now, a news report (also reproduced entirely at the end below) states that these massive tonnes of iron ore have disappeared.

Quite likely, the state government, with tacit understanding of the central government, is involved in this theft.

(click on the maps below to see them enlarged & clear)

600 tonnes of iron ore seized in Orissa
2010-02-03 16:30:00
Mining officials have seized at least 600 tonnes of iron ore in Orissa's mineral-rich Keonjhar district in a continuing crackdown on illegal mines, an official said Wednesday.
'The ore was seized from Thakurani reserve forest area. About 200 tonnes of iron ore was seized today (Wednesday), 400 tonnes of ore was seized Tuesday,' Deputy Director (mines) U.C. Jena told IANS.
Investigations into illegal mining in Orissa by various state and central agencies started after some politicians alleged in July that some mines were operating without licences.
Jena said the mining officials have seized more than five lakh tonnes of iron ore worth about Rs.50 crore from various places in mineral-rich districts of Keonjhar and Sundergarh since July. The officials have also seized about 6,000 tonnes of manganese ore from the region.
The district head quarters of Keonjhar is located at a distance of about 235 km from state capital Bhubaneswar. Sundergarh is its nearby district.

Illegally lifted iron ore disappears in Orissa
Sunday, 21 February 2010 02:59
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 20: At least 3,600 metric tonnes of iron ore illegally mined from forest areas and stockpiled at two railway sidings — Banspani in Keonjhar district and Juruli in Sundergarh district — has mysteriously disappeared.
The precious mineral — roughly estimated to be worth Rs 150 crores — is suspected to have been lifted by a big racket allegedly having political patronisation.
Although Joda deputy director mines (DDM) has written separate letters to inspector-in-charge of general railway police station Rourkela and Bhandhamuda police station, no one action has been taken against to identify the culprits.
What raises doubt about the state government’s seriousness to apprehend the criminals is its complete silence over the issue. Although on January 21, the DDM, Joda, stumbled upon the illegally lifted mineral stocked at Bansapani and Jurui, he did not seize it. Instead, he kept mum on the issue and informed the police nine days after on January 30, allowing the plunders to transport iron ore to the targeted destinations. Sources said the illegally dispatched iron ore was lifted from forest areas and some mines which were recently shut down after much hue and cry by the Opposition.
"I think no amount of exposes can awaken the Naveen Patnaik government to check the ongoing indiscriminate loot of the state’s mineral resources. He does not care to act. This exposes the real man in Naveen," senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra told reporters at a crowded press conference here.
He reiterated his demand for a probe into the multi-crore mining scam by the CBI.
Akshaya Kumar Sahoo

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