Mining happiness

Bindo, Pushto and Nando may well have become household names given the amount of airtime they have been receiving lately.
I believe we have been told that little Bindo’s happy cackle is a gift from Vedanta, which is now faking, sorry, “creating” happiness.
Looks like the company, which was blamed for uprooting villages, creating environment pollution and negligently leading to mining deaths — all misconstrued allegations, I’m sure — has turned over a new leaf.
About a year and half ago just about every newspaper, channel and drawing room was buzzing with the story of Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa where an indigenous, and not to forget protected, tribe — Dongra Kondh — stood up against the mining giant for violating human and environmental rights.
But now, we stand corrected — the multi-crore worth ads inform us that the company has in fact helped people in over 550 villages with better healthcare, education and several other amenities.
Looks like it is time for detractors of the mining giant, including some former investors, to hide in shame for Vedanta is “fully committed to pursuing its investments in a responsible manner, respecting the environment and human rights”.
It was only the audacious faceless masses who got in the way of development.
Reports of toxic wastes leaching from its plants into nearby water bodies and sources of drinking water notwithstanding, scrap dealer-turned-billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta continues to ‘support communities where they operate’.
Over-reaching displaced people, damage to sacred sites and endangered wildlife, and poisoned water can be seen as just ‘collateral damage’. As for the rest, Vedanta is “creating happiness”.

7 responses to “Mining happiness

  1. Fantastic points altogether, you simply won a new reader. What might you suggest in regards to your put up that you just made a few days in the past? Any positive?

  2. Sure, mining isn’t good for environment. I oppose most mining, hydro-electric projects on this basis itself. But when you bring in human angle, think why Maoist, Leftist justify their violence based upon excuse of no development and poverty. But when someone tries to bring in investments, these people incite and misguide the native population against it as it’ll weaken the hold of leftists over the poor.

    The comment above by NorthWest is spam.

    • The concern in this regard is not just the environmental cost but also the human cost. I do not think this blog post defends the maoists, leftists or the naxals and I think that question is out of context here. Whether their theories hold water or not is another debate.
      However, with regard to this post, I can say that development means different things for different people. There are families and communities that have been displaced time and again in the name of ‘development’. Any development that doesn’t include, and in some cases harms, the native population can and will come under criticism and scrutiny. The Dongra Kondh tribes people aren’t naxalites. They are simply people trying to defend their right to a decent life.
      If you must talk about naxals or Maoists, then consider what fuels their argument and violence. Consider the basic argument of equality of opportunity. Remember operation green hunt?

  3. As I’ve said before, I value environment before profits. If mining operations adversely affect the environment and the people living there, I’ll oppose the project. BUt vvested interests (Leftists, Maoists) have made it a point to sabotage most of developmental work citing frivolous reasons causing more harm to ordinary people than corporates. Some other glaring examples are Tata plant in Bengal, Nuclear power plant in Karnatka coast where Leftists and Evangelist funded organisations have caused losses worth hundreds of crores by misleading people. I’m not as knowledgeable about Vedanta issue, but if you want progress or development, call it what you want, there will have to be sacrifices. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
    I don’t condemn operation green hunt. Any threat which threatens our national sovereignty should be put down with whatever means possible. Maoists aren’t friends of poor, marginalised people and by working against Indian state they make any move to help the poor even more difficult. Everyone knows the source of their funding and ideology anyway. Their so called social justice is not even a fig leaf

    • Well the, I guess we have to just agree to disagree! :) Because according to me the human cost is just as important as environmental, if not more in some cases. It is too easy to say someone has to pay the price for development when it isn’t yourself.
      As far as naxalites or maoists go, as I said this post isn’t about it and thus your comment is out of context. But since you’ve picked it up, I would say that there methods may be circumspect and I understand, or think I do, that the naxal ‘leaders’ have their own power agenda in keeping the tribals in a poor state. But do try and think why hundreds of families, who have no role in the power model, are willing to arm their children and women to go out — to kill and be killed. Also, try and look up which parts of our country are most naxal affected, which parts have most mining “development” projects (on-going or pending), which have most poverty and which have the most tribals. You may find something new.
      As far as national sovereignty goes, at the risk of sounding unpatriotic I must say I don’t buy into that. A nation is made of its people. The problem is that we have a nation where far too many communities are at war with that concept and instead of introspecting into what the real problems are we hide behind the comfortable curtain of national sovereignty. Pardon me, but that is an unthinking sham.

    • All in all JJ, I respect your opinion but I think we have to agree to disagree. On most of the counts :)

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