Stop mining operation in hills: Committee on climate change tells governments

Several scientists have warned that the Eastern Himalayan will be the most vulnerable due global climate crisis, therefore, it is high time for the Government and mining companies to rethink, revisit and stop the mining across the hill ranges of Manipur, the committee said.

The Eastern Himalayan Youth Coordinating Committee on Climate Change (EHYCCCC) has appealed to the Centre, Manipur government, and the extractive industries to immediately stop mining of chromite and limestone underway across the hill ranges of Ukhrul, Kamjong, Tengnoupal and Chandel districts of Manipur, and conduct Human Rights Impact Assessment and Cumulative Impact Assessment

The committee, in a statement, expressed deep concern over the approach of governments and the mining companies which will destroy large-scale forest cover area and will impact climate change.

Several scientists have warned that the Eastern Himalayan will be the most vulnerable due global climate crisis, therefore, it is high time for the Government and mining companies to rethink, revisit and stop the mining across the hill ranges of Manipur, it said.

The committee pointed out that to recover the lost economy of India due to the Covid19 pandemic by sacrificing the indigenous peoples land which are rich in natural resource by initiating the extraction of natural resources is a threat to right to lives of the indigenous peoples living across the hill ranges of Manipur bordering Myanmar. The indigenous peoples are dependent on the forest, river and mountains for their livelihood, it added.

Extracting the natural resources deposited in the land of the indigenous people will adversely impact the indigenous peoples living in the border area of Myanmar. The people suffer due to dumping of toxic waste from the mining sites into the small streams and rivers which flows down to Myanmar, it said.

“We already have learned from the incident of Baghjan, Assam on May 27, 2020 where the Oil India Ltd drilled crude oil and caught fire which displaced more than 1600 households, polluting the river, lake and a wildlife sanctuary. Also in Jaintia Hill of Meghalaya where eight cement factories are located and the coal mining which pollutes the rivers flowing down to Bangladesh due to dumping of toxic waste,” it stated.

The initiative to initiate mining of the minerals by the government of Manipur, India and extractive industries have failed to obtain free prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples and have failed to follow and respect certain guidelines laid down under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Further it failed to conduct ground survey to assess the Human Rights Impact Assessment, Cumulative Impact Assessment, etc.

First Published: July 30, 2020, 10:14 a.m.