Odisha Environment Congress: Experts caution mining led development may cause disaster

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Bhubaneswar: On the second day of Odisha Environment Congress held here at RMNH, Bhubaneswar the experts who presented papers in various technical sessions are of the opinion that mining led development in the state may cause disaster to the environment.

In the session on Responsible Mining and Role of Mining Industries, Mr P K Jena, Principal Secretary to Govt of Odisha and State Relief Commissioner said, ”Mining without taking care of social well being of the affected people and the environment around it is detrimental to the development process of the state”. Corporate Social Responsibility of the corporate houses in mining are not able to mitigate the adverse impact due to lack of proper monitoring, he said. The other panelist in the session were Mr. Ramnath Praharaj, Director Project and Planning, OMC, Mr. Sandip Mishra, Journalist, Er Ravi Narayan Sarangi, former GM, BHEL and Mr. Rajesh Mohapatra, former Editor, Hindustan Times, New Delhi.

The other technical sessions held today were sustainable mining and the social-economic cost-benefit of mining in which Prof D P Roy, former VC OUAT, Dr Binayak Rath, ex-VC of Utkal University, Prof Nabanita Ratha, Dept of Economics Prof Mitali Chinara, both from Utkal University spoke besides many scientists, academicians researchers etc.

For development, mining is a must. Thus, the State and the Society must predict the future consequences from past experiences. The major parameters of responsible mining demands to follow the rules and regulations, to retain commitment for the environment, adopt proactive and protective strategies for the mines workers,  the displaced,  to have continuous and constant commitment in respecting the local people, their culture and livelihood,  to respect the biodiversity of the areas undermining operation, care to provide safety measures for the mines workers and generate awareness among all stakeholders to remain responsible.  The extraction of non-renewal mineral resources poses threats of different kinds.  Unmindful mining led to environmental devastation, ecological degradation, health hazards, loss of biodiversity, migration of the poor in search of a living, the emergence of social evils and many types of menace and in addition nature is getting distanced.  Due to the lack of proper accountability and responsibility the intensity of manmade disasters caused due to mining has increased. Some case studies to mitigate the mining menace were also presented.   Therefore, mining led development is not a solution for human welfare and development. We need to search for effective alternative models of development wherein the environment and mining can maintain some sort of balance. Mines and minerals matter but man matters more than these.

The sessions of the day ended with a formal vote of thanks by Mr. Sudarsan das, Organising Secretary, OEC. Tomorrow there will be a special session on voices of the people in which the representatives of victims of mining will speak besides valedictory session.

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