The Clear, Hold, Develop strategy of Operation Green Hunt is in full swing in the state of Jharkhand. Clear the forests/tribals and Develop Open Cast Mines.
Jharkhand mulls mining in Ho tribe's homeland
TOI has documents showing that the Jharkhand government has sought and received applications for mining in more than 500 sq km of the dense forests -- home to the Ho tribe that the Union government wants to bring development to. Around 95 sq km of the forest is already leased out for mining.
Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh pushed and got a Rs 150 crore special package to develop roads, community centres, hospitals, schools, provide jobs and set up CRPF camps in the heart of the dense forest that has remained an impenetrable zone for the administration - with the government finding several 'lost' villages just recently.
But much of this could become redundant if the Jharkhand government's plans come true with almost the entire green patch wiped clean with coal pits dotting the landscape and a few Ho villages left spattered around. Of course, it would also be then flooded with a new world of contractors, labour and all the paraphernalia of the mining industry.
At the moment, some of the leased out mines are not operational and most of them lie on the eastern fringe of the sal forests. But once all the proposed mines become operational, the forest, which is also a critical elephant terrain, could be fragmented beyond recognition.
The Union environment ministry had previously given clearance for Chiriya mines inside the Saranda forests despite internal views against the move and now SAIL has come back for more.