Upcoming news for Buxwaha Forest, Many people oppose diamond mining in Buxwaha Forest and now there is a trend to Save Buxwaha Forest. In Madhya Pradesh’s Buxwaha forest, more than 215,000 trees are in danger of being cut down for the diamond mine. The government has given permission for diamond mining for this forest. According to which not only trees will be cut, but many plant and animal species will also be threatened by this. Tiger conservation will be adversely affected. Livelihoods of over 7,000 tribals will be snatched away and perhaps the biggest issue is that the region is a drought-prone region. There is acute water shortage and diamond mining will be a water-intensive project. A lot of water will be used for mining.
On the other hand, the government claims that there is nothing to worry about. That they will plant more trees than they cut down and people will get employment. This will help in promoting economic development.
So who is right here?
Let’s take a look at the details of the story. A story that started 15-20 years ago. A story where BJP and Congress are equally to be blamed. let’s go! About 650 km from Delhi in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, there is the area of Buxwaha where the Buxwaha forest is located. According to the 2011 census, the total population here is about 10,000. This forest has been there for centuries. Our story begins in January 2004. When an Anglo-Australian company called Rio Tinto discovered that there was a large deposit of diamonds beneath the area. This diamond deposit is then named Bandar (Monkey). Because apparently this area is full of monkeys.
In October 2010, this company signs a state assistance agreement with the Government of Madhya Pradesh. After this it is decided that the government will get 10% mining royalty from the sale of diamonds by this company. Which will be recovered from this site and 90% of the profits will go to Rio Tinto. It is estimated that 27.5 million carats of diamonds will be unearthed from this area.
This is a huge number. It may be one of the largest diamond deposits in our country. It is a lust for money. But why are you getting excited? Don’t worry, you won’t get this money. According to that agreement 10% would go to the state government and 90% would go to the company, Rio Tinto the total area at that time was 971 hectares and they were approved for 954 hectares.
It was estimated then that more than 500,000 trees would have to be cut. The Panna Tiger Reserve was beside it It is a national park where tigers are found. The lifeline of the Panna Tiger Reserve is the Ken river.
Alligators are found in it. In fact, there was even a Ken Gharial (Alligators) Sanctuary here. Apart from these, there is a nature reserve in the Buxwaha forest With rich wildlife and nature. Our country would’ve lost these gems of nature because of some corporate and governmental profits. But fortunately, it did not happen. Thanks to environmental activist Shehla Masood. It was 2011, the Congress government was at the centre.
Shehla wrote a letter to the then Home Minister of India and filed a written complaint with the Select Committee of the Parliament. On the other hand, the Madhya Pradesh High Court asked the State Government and the Centre Government the reason for the gross violations of the rules and regulations taking place there. Shehla Masood was not only an environmental activist but also an RTI acitvist. She had also participated in the 2011’s Anna Hazare’s Anti Corruption Movement.
Death of Shehla Masood
On 16th August, Shehla was on her way to collect the response to her RTI appeal. She sat in the driver’s seat of her car and suddenly some people came up to her and murder her in broad daylight. Several people suspect that the persons behind this murder maybe the Rio Tinto company, Diamond Mafia, and some local BJP politicians. But the then Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Uma Shankar Gupta dismisses these accusations. She says that it was an unfortunate incident that Shehla was murdered. But no one in the government wanted to kill her.
A spokesperson of the Rio Tinto company responded to this by stating that:
They claim that Rio Tinto adheres to high ethical standards. It was later claimed that Shehla was murdered due to a property dispute. Since the Madhya Pradesh Police was not trusted. So the case was transferred to CBI and CBI comes to the conclusion of the case that there may be a love triangle at the heart of this unfortunate death.
Rio Tinto exited the Buxwaha Forest Diamond Mining project
Protests continue against this mine. Many activists and local people like renowned conservationist Valmik Thapar and NGO Pahal lead this movement. In March 2016, a Forest Advisory Committee declared that the area was a violation category. Because it is a ‘rich forest area’ and it is a tiger corridor between Panna Tiger Reserve and another wildlife sanctuary. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has come up with a similar report. After the report of this committee, the government finally rejects the permission for mining.
Remember this was in 2016 when the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government was in power in Madhya Pradesh. In response, the company makes some desperate attempts to retain mining permits for at least a portion of the area and submits a new proposal that only speaks of 76 hectares. But the Forest Advisory Committee says that even mining in that area will pose a major threat to the high quality forest area that we cannot afford to lose. So in August 2016, the Rio Tinto company finally gave up and says they don’t want to pursue the project.
They decide that all the project infrastructure available there will be handed over to the state government. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had made a lot of efforts to get this company approved. But the project had to be shelved due to a committee report. On 7 February 2017, the company finally bids and the things left by the company are handed over to the state government. Our forests, trees, rivers, wildlife, tigers and tribals, all survived.
Buxwha Forest Project Revived in 2018
But in 2018 elections were held in Madhya Pradesh. And the Congress government comes to power. Kamal Nath becomes the new Chief Minister and he decides that the project will be revived, he auctions it. The total capital cost of the project is estimated at ₹25 billion and with an opportunity to earn ₹550 billion.
Many companies do their bidding. Aditya Birla Group, Adani Group, Vedanta Group, Essel Mining and Industries Limited and National Mineral Development Corporation. Aditya Birla Group’s bid is winning and 364 hectares of forest land is given on lease for 50 years on which they can mine for diamonds.
In this new contract, this new deal, about 58% of the profits from diamond mining will go to the Aditya Birla group and 42% will go to the state government.
Try to understand what is happening here in the broadest sense. The forests, forests, rivers, hills and mountains of a country belong to whom? Every citizen of the country. We all breathe air from the forests. Therefore every citizen should have a right over the forest. But what is happening here? A government is basically trying to decide to take over the forest and sell it to a private company. So that the company can make profit from the forest. 58% of the profits will go to the private company to the rich people who own the private company, 40% of the profit will go to our government and what do the citizens get?
Used to say that people would get employment. But by employment they mean those workers. Those who will actually work in diamond mining, and will be given a monthly salary so that they can barely make a living and what will be the output? Diamonds have been found here. How do diamonds benefit the country and its citizens? 99% of the people will not get any benefit. Diamond is a decorative luxury item. The top 1% of people will get another luxury item.
Top Donor Company of Political Party
Here our governments are selling our natural resources. Due to which only a handful of people benefit. As a fun fact, if I tell you that Aditya Birla Group was one of the top donors to the Congress party in 2004 and 2012. In 2018 also, Aditya Birla Group was included in the list of top donors. The BJP party, then, our Modi government passed electoral bonds so that political donations made by companies remain anonymous to us. If you want to thank someone for this, thank our dear Mr. Narendra Modi.
Money Begets Money
Here the situation of ‘paisa becomes paisa’ also comes to the fore. Only those people who earn more money can invest in this diamond mine. It is ridiculous to think that a common citizen of the country would have enough money to bid for these diamond mines. People who are already billionaires will have the money they need. Only they can fund political parties. So that pressure can be put on these political parties to sell forest land. So that they can earn profit.
Water privatization in Bolivia (Water War)
Bolivia is a South American country. Where the government had once privatized its water supply as well. After this, when private companies exercised their rights over water, it happened that they increased its prices and drinking water became unaffordable for the common people. Because of this a water war broke out in Bolivia. There people started quarreling over water. Do we want the same to happen in our country?
Water crisis in Bundelkhand
The Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh is a drought-prone region. There is a similar shortage of water and if diamonds are mined there. Which is a water-intensive project and a lot of water will be used. So will it not affect the water supply of common people? Will the people there get proper supply of water? Will there not be a water war in the future? Talking about the exact number, it is an estimate. That the processing plant of the mine would require 5.9 million cubic meters of water per year. 1 cubic meter is 1,000 liters of water. 5.9 billion liters of water. This will be used every year.
Output of The Buxwaha Forest Diamond Mining Project
Most interestingly, what will be the output of all this? The government says that people will get employment. Who wants to work as a laborer in a diamond mine? would you want to? No, you won’t. Are the tribal people living in the forest being asked? If they want to leave their profession of living and working in the forest for decades. So will they leave their forest and work as laborers in a diamond mine? Shouldn’t they be asked too? What are the other outputs? Is Diamonds!
What is a Diamond Scam?
Who really needs diamonds? The interesting thing is that friends diamond is such a thing that its value has been created. Its value doesn’t really exist. The diamond industry is often considered a worldwide scam. Because some companies have established such a strong control over the supply of diamonds that as soon as the prices start falling. They stop or reduce their supply so that the value of the diamond can be lost. Maintained. On top of this, films like Blood Diamond have exposed the evils of the diamond industry. I definitely recommend. that you see this film. Even after this some people will argue for diamond mining. This is because some people like to wear diamonds. So they should be allowed. And that diamond should remain in our society.
What are industrial diamonds & How diamonds are made in Industry?
Today diamonds can be made in the laboratory. Diamonds are not something that requires cutting down forests and then mining them. Because diamonds of similar quality can be made efficiently in laboratories. Some diamond companies claim that lab-made diamonds are fake and not of the same high quality. But all this is a sheer lie to protect the profits of the companies.
In fact, diamond is a carbon structure that has been recreated in laboratories. In fact, it is cheaper to make in laboratories. According to the latest reports, it is cheaper to make diamonds in the lab. Some companies have even promised this. That they will no longer be mining for diamonds. Instead they will make diamonds in the lab itself and because diamonds are made of carbon. Carbon dioxide in the air can be captured and used in laboratories to make diamonds.
Advantages of Industrial Diamonds:
This will have two advantages. To kill two birds with a stone. First, there will be no mining. The forest will not have to be cut. Diamond mines are anyway very harmful to the environment and the second advantage would be that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that is increasing global warming. If we start capturing carbon dioxide and making diamonds out of it, it can also reduce carbon dioxide levels. You will certainly find the idea plausible in principle, but still be unsure of how to implement it. This is a technology that has already been successfully implemented. Some companies have already started this. Making diamonds from caught diamonds.