Apropos of the edit “Mining for lessons” (FE, April 23), illegal and unregulated mining is the root cause for the ban on iron ore mining in Goa and Karnataka. No illegal mining would have happened if the regulatory bodies and the policymakers had been vigilant and a tight surveillance mechanism had existed. Emboldened by the lax, almost connivng, nature of the government and inefficient surveillance the mining companies strayed away considerably from the rulebook. Now that bans have been lifted, the states should probe the cases of illegal mining and book the offenders irrespective of the political pull these people might enjoy.
This refers to the editorial ‘Mining for lessons’ (FE, April 23). While investigations are still going on, with many names still tainted, licences awaiting renewal, workers having lost jobs without any compensation and regulatory bodies ill-equipped to ensure mining is carried out within stipulated frameworks, what was the SC thinking when it revoked its own ban on iron mining? While media has gone gaga over the financial implications with overly optimistic projections, what about the ground conditions? A fistful of issues needed to be ironed out before this half-baked ban was revoked. I had lauded the SC’s decision last year to check the illegal mining in Goa and Karnataka. Do we not see that mining companies have every incentive to loot and plunder, in the guise of recovering their losses due to the ban? They will now run amok, conscience and concern for nature dead. In the case of states like Orissa and Jharkhand, where the Shah Commission has reported illegal mining of astounding scales, it is has also been found that respectable companies, like Tata Steel, have been deemed to have mined illegally because the slow-moving bureaucracy at both state and Central levels stalled necessary permissions. Archaic and over-lapping laws, zero clarity on what to do and how to do it, decades-old limit on per annum extraction—India’s mining sector will be killed by its own governing framework. I hope the state governments, for once, think pragmatically and act with urgency before it is too late!
Road ahead for Railways
Apropos of the report "For now, Railways plans desi bullet trains on a few routes @ 130 kmph" (FE, April 23), the idea is both practical and welcome. Giving importance and priority to safety and security, Railways have to go on