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Sunday, February 5, 2012

'Greed-based mining root of scandals'

PANAJI: A need-based and not greed-based approach should be adopted towards mining, saidDr V Bahuguna, director general of the Indian council of forestry research & education, Dehradun, recently.
He made the statement while referring to the illegal mining scandals in the country. Bahuguna was speaking at a conference on 'mining for sustainability', While stating that "very good mining infrastructure was needed for a country's progress," Bahuguna also said that "sizeable area needs to be retained under forest in view of climate change".
He faulted the industry for adopting an unscientific approach to mining. "Despite being such an important activity, why is mining not clean, clear and sustainable?" he questioned.
Bahuguna attributed the growing public attention mining was drawing to this fact. Expressing the need to develop a symbiotic relationship between economic needs and conservation, he observed that factors such as food security and rainfall depend on forest resources.
Bahuguna was of the view that futuristic mining practices such as underground mining done inSweden should be adopted in India too.
Referring to the poor compliance of environmental laws by mining companies, Dr R N Patra, chairman of Indian Rare Earths Ltd, felt that "corruption happens when the legal framework is not implemented properly".
Elaborating, Patra said companies calculate the trade-off between loss occurred through compliance (with regulations) and the gain achieved through non-compliance.
K P Nyati, CEO, Sustainable Mining Initiative, said, "Compliance with rules and regulations is the basis for foundation of sustainability."
He wondered whether scientific mining practices would be possible when 83% of mines in the country are below 40 hectares and hence operated by small mining companies.

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