Committee calls for stopping mining in hill districts

IMPHAL, 28th Jul: Eastern Himalayan Youth Coordinating Committee on Climate Change (EHYCCCC) has expressed its deep concern over the move being made by the governments of India and Manipur and extractive industries/companies to mine limestone, chromite, nickel, copper, malachite, azurite and magnetite and various platinum group of elements (PGE) deposited along the hill ranges of Ukhrul, Kamjong, Tengnoupal and Chandel districts and various parts of Manipur, saying it would destroy large scale forest areas and contribute to climate change.
According to a release by EHYCCCC, various scientists have already warned that the Eastern Himalayan region will be the most vulnerable due to global climate crisis and as such it is high time for the Government of Manipur, India and the extractive industries to rethink, revisit and stop the mining across the hill ranges of Manipur.
To recover the lost economy of India due to the Covid-19 pandemic by sacrificing the indigenous people’s land which are rich in natural resources by initiating the extraction of mineral resources is a threat to right to life of the indigenes inhabiting the hill ranges of Manipur bordering Myanmar, as the indigenous peoples are dependent on the forest, river and mountains, it added.
EHYCCCC alleged that extracting the natural resources deposited in the land of the indigenous people without their proper knowledge and consent of the people is one of the strategic steps of Government of India, Manipur and other mining MNCs to suppress the right of the indigenous people. Further, it will adversely impact the indigenous peoples residing in the border areas near to Myanmar due to dumping of toxic waste from the mining sites to the small streams and rivers which flows down to Myanmar, it noted.
The organisation claimed that the initiative to start mining of the minerals by the government and mining industries has failed to obtain free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous people and also has failed to uphold certain guidelines laid down under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It also has neglected to conduct ground survey to assess the Human Rights Impact Assessment, Cumulative Impact Assessment, etc.
Citing examples, EW stated that people have already learned from the May 27 incident of Baghjan in Assam which has displaced over 1,600 households, polluted the river, lake and a wild life sanctuary. Also in Jaintia Hill of Meghalaya where eight cement factories are located, coal mining activities are polluting the rivers flowing down to Bangladesh due to dumping of toxic waste.
Citing the aforementioned cases, it appealed to the governments of Manipur and India as well as mining industries to immediately stop mining of Chromite, Limestone and other minerals in Ukhrul, Kamjong, Tengnoupal and Chandel districts.
It also emphasised conduct of Human Rights Impact Assessment and Cumulative Impact Assessment, respect the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to respect the rights of the indigenous people.

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