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‘Mining is like a search-and-destroy mission.’
Stewart Udall

Mining is very hazardous for the environment, not only because it destroys the natural resources and biodiversity of the land but it also results in several side-effects, like the contamination of water supplies, the polluting of surrounding areas that will negatively impact the biodiversity of the region in future generations as well as the displacement of local people, among others.

Vanashakti has involved itself in important anti-mining operations through several ways, hoping to generate awareness of the negative impacts of mining in ecologically rich and sensitive areas. It does this through involving the media, to make the general public aware of these effects. The Vanashakti team has also carried out preliminary research to substantiate these claims, such as for example, detailed research in the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg corridor, which as an ecological hotspot faces threats from these mining projects. Vanashakti also supports other organizations that work in the area. Including local grassroots organisations that face the brunt of environmental vandalisation under the guise of development.

The Vanashakti team spent many hours and many RTI applications to put together the documentation needed to file a Public Interest Litigation that was recently filed in the Mumbai High Court against mining projects in the above region. This was filed in the Mumbai High Court, upon coordination with our associates at the Awaaz Foundation. 

So far, Vanashakti has succeeded through its efforts and collaborative approach, to raise serious impediments for the mining industry and has managed to get the Government to acknowledge the destruction of a critical wild life habitat. Support from the media helped grab the attention of Central Minister of Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh. Vanashakti hopes to continue its work to protect India’s forests from the threats of mining corporations.

 
Our Stance on Mining
"We at Vanashakti understand that environmental sustenance and economic development need to go hand in hand. However, we do want to work towards a policy that allows mining only in areas where wildlife is scarce and the impact on biodiversity would be minimal. This means that it is not just illegal mines we oppose, but 'legal' ones too – we consider the latter illegal simply because a large number of them obtain clearances based on EIAs stating that there is no wildlife in the area, no river nearby, no forests around. And going by the EIAs submitted today to obtain the relevant permissions, almost all mines are illegal.

We pursue the implementation of a policy which allows independent agencies permitted by MoEF to develop EIA reports, using a checklist provided by the Ministry. These checklists will be region specific, for each area will have differing properties and needs. It is crucial that wildlife areas obtain an ESA status where required, and time is of the essence – our forests cannot hold out much longer. These ESAs would preferably be managed by local inhabitants, in a manner that allows them to coexist with wildlife, with minimal interaction. This way, not only is the flora and fauna protected, but the original occupants of area are able to retain their land, rather than risk being displaced."
 
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