Press Coverage

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Balpakram Uranium proposal Rejected ; Coal Mines around the Park ordered shut

 

Friends, with great pleasure we would like to share with you the news that the proposal for exploratory uranium drilling in Balpakram National Park has been rejected by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. In addition, the Ministry has also pressed the state government to close all illegal coal mines around the park. A press statement from the Garo Hills Anti Mining Forum on this subject is placed below. A note from the Ministry of Environment and Forests on this can be found at
http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/Ur_report.pdf
.

 

We would like to thank several of you who responded to our calls for help with this campaign and invite you to celebrate this victory along with us. In conservation, victories are few and far between; however, the campaign to protect the Balpakram Baghmara Landscape has seen considerable success in the recent past. We would like to share with all of you, our supporters and well wishers, the joy and elation of these successes.  

 

Even as we celebrate, we gird ourselves for sterner battles ahead - the state that we work in is being ravaged by illegal mining coal and limestone mining; and we are losing habitats faster than ever - mostly to monoculture plantations. Over the next year we are gearing for a major push against illegal mining as well as habitat protection. We invite you to share this wonderful journey with us.

 

As always, none of what we do would be possible without your help. Please consider making a donation to support our work. Volunteering opportunities too are available. Please contact Arpan Sharma (9868878793; arpan@samrakshan.org) for more details.

 

Team Samrakshan

 

 


Garo Hills Anti-Mining Forum

Secretariat: c/o. GSU Southern Zone, Simsang Bridge Junction, Bolsalgre, Baghmara, South Garo Hills district, Meghalaya

 

National Board for Wildlife rejects Balpakram Uranium proposal and orders closure of Coal Mines around the Park

 

14 May 2010

 

The Garo Hills Anti Mining Forum hails the decision of the standing committee of the national board for wildlife (NBWL) to reject a proposal of the department of atomic energy for exploratory drilling for Uranium in Balpakram national park. Further the NBWL has pressed the state government of Meghalaya to ensure that all illegal coal mines in the vicinity of Balpakram are shut down with immediate effect. These decisions were taken at a meeting of the NBWL held on 14 May 2010. Please see attached note from the Ministry of Environment and Forests on this subject.

 

First and foremost the Garo Hills Anti Mining Forum congratulates Mr. Jairam Ramesh for having stood by his reputation of being a friend of the people of the north east and of taking bold decisions. We look forward to continued stewardship on his part, particularly to rid Meghalaya of the cancer of illegal private coal and limestone mining that is ravaging the social and environmental fabric of our state.

 

The Garo Students' Union has once again proven itself to be the sentinel of the Garo people by having led the agitation against illegal private coal mining as well as spearheading the anti uranium campaign. The firmness and swiftness of the GSU's response has been a key factor for this success. The Garo Hills Anti Mining Forum looks forward to continued leadership on part of the GSU in the ongoing battle against illegal private coal and limestone mining.

 

Our Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma played an important part by carrying our voice to the Prime Minister's office.  For this we are grateful to him. Similarly, Mr. PA. Sangma too threw his weight behind the agitation and provided much needed boost to the campaign. The moral support of our local MLA Mr. Satto Marak has been an important ally in our campaign. We welcome the support of our political leadership and now look forward to similar support on their part in bringing to an end the cancer of illegal private coal and limestone mining as well.

 

Sanjay Upadhyay and Shilpa Chohan of the Enviro Legal Defence Firm have been true friends of the Garo people for having supported the anti mining campaign for the last few years. We look forward to their ongoing support.

 

Sengrak Marak and Salesa Nengminza mobilized much needed support in the cyber world while Kashmira Kakati and Sally Walker of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group responded immediately to our call for help.

 

On the other hand we condemn the stand of the chief wildlife warden of Meghalaya for according hasty clearance to the project. He has proven himself incapable of holding office for having given this clearance without ascertaining either the ecological implications of the project or the mood of the people. The wildlife of Meghalaya has suffered considerably because of the ham handed manner in which the wildlife division is being run and we call upon the government to give us an active and conscientious chief wildlife warden. 

  

With this victory, the Garo Hills Anti Mining forum announces the launch of a vigorous campaign throughout the Garo Hills against illegal private coal and limestone mines. These are destroying our social fabric and our land and putting the future of our people at stake. We will not permit short term gains for a few to ruin our land and our future. We call upon every right thinking citizen to join us in our forthcoming campaign taking strength from our recent victories.

 

 

Asit Sangma                              Ginseng D. Sangma               

President                                   Gen. Secretary     
                   

Vaishali A. Sangma                    Prosper S Marak
Additional General Secy.            Publicity Secy.

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The Garo Hills Anti Mining Forum is a conglomeration of organizations and citizens against illegal, environmentally or socially harmful mining - 1. Garo Students' Union, 2. Youth Development and Vigilance Committee, 3. Southern Youth and Cultural Organization, 4. Atong Cultural Organization, 5. Siju Eco Tourism and Cultural Society, 6. Samrakshan Trust, 7. Achik Tourism Society, 8. Siju Youth Socio-Cultural Organization, 9. Tura Government College Students' Union, 10. Integrated People for Tourism and Conservation, 11. ECHO, Rongara.

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