Environment protection in India with respect to mines and dams
• The discussion was initiated by Ms. Roohi. She laid emphasis on the trips made by her to places in Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh and described briefly the situation in the naxalite areas regarding mining activities in that area. According to her, the situation is not at all satisfactory. There is literally no check on the mining activities being carried out in this particular area. Chhattisgarh is home to tons of natural resources and mining activities in the area have been going on since its inception in Nov. 2000. For eg- in Bailadilla which is home to tons of iron ore deposits, mining activities have been causing greater damage to the surrounding areas. For eg- the color of the water used for domestic purposes has changed to red due to the mining activities and is not fit for serving any purpose. She gave a similar example of damage being cause to the environment due to unregulated mining activities in certain remote areas of Himachal Pradesh as well. She also clarified that there is no proper implementation of the provisions of any of the statutes related to protection of environment regarding the mining activities. Law on the paper is useless until and unless it is implemented.
• Students from Jamia Milia gave similar examples on unregulated mining activities and its effect on the environment. One of them gave an example of how a mining area looks like describing it as a place which looks like war zone, desolate and life-less. They also mentioned the fact that knowledge of the law is important in such discussions where you need to have the knowledge of certain legal doctrines related to environment protection such as the polluter pays principle, the principle of sustainable development etc.
• A student from the HNLU, raipur laid emphasis on the fact that until and unless situation and the grass root isn’t taken care of, nothing could be done in areas like the naxalite affected areas of Chhattisgarh and Orissa where there is lack of basic amenities. One should first correct the basic infrastructure required for human survival and then talk about environment protection.
• Lastly, Dr. Rajeev Dhawan mentioned about an article of his on Slaughter Mining related to the Mines Act, 1952. Where he has raised the issue of proper implementation of the provisions of the Act as was the issue raised by Ms. Roohi previously. He also said that the run of the river cases are the one’s which are most difficult to argue in front of the Court. He also discussed the report on Total Environment Impact. Then he went on to discuss that where there is construction there ought to be pollution. Activities like mining would eventually release dust particles and chemicals into the environment. He also mentioned about the mining belt which runs right through the Central India. He specifically mentioned the fact that PESA was a badly drafted act and that there were some shortcomings in the provisions of the Act. Then he went on to discuss the Forest Conservation Act and the Environment Protection Act and said that they have contributed significantly in the protection of the environment and both of them were permissive and process oriented legislations. He also laid stress on the fact that there is a need of Informed and educated activists, not just activists. He also specified the need of environmentally active bureaucrats and also briefly mentioned some parts of the Samta judgment. He gave an example of active an informed activists in the form of CSE.