Among the others attending this meet are activists like Onkar Vishwakarma and Suman Kumar Mehta from SANGRAM, an organisation working for the empowerment of adivasis in the Mathadih, Domchanchi and Koderma in Jharkhand. One of SANGRAM’s key areas of work is against illegal stone mining.
There is also Smita Patnaik, from the Narishwar Raksha Samiti, an organisation based in Angul, Odisha. Smita and her colleagues have been fighting for forest rights, as well as the rights of women and dalits – specifically, on issues such as the threat of displacement faced by indigenous tribes, and sexual exploitation of women in mining areas. Smita is clear that coal mining companies must invest in afforestation, periphery development and treating and managing their overburden.
Says CSE director general Sunita Narain: “On one hand, industry in our country is demanding quicker clearances. On the other, for the people who have come here (the civil society activists), environmental issues are a matter of their livelihoods and livelihood security – these issues and concerns can no longer be undermined,” reported CSE.
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