Mining mafia active in Vindhyachal in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh's Vindhyachal range, long known for its natural environs, has now come under grave threat due to widespread illegal mining.
Hundreds of acres of fertile land have been rendered barren due to illegal mining. The farmers have given up ploughing the fields.
The mining mafia have set up around 500 illegal quarries and dynamite and compressors have shattered the serenity of the region.
Machines are used for digging 10-15 feet deep holes in which dynamite is blasted. About a thousand such detonations are carried out each day.
These blasts throw out rock pieces with such a high intensity that at times people get killed. Local say many people have already lost their lives because of this problem.
Manmohan Pal, a villager, said: "They activate the dynamite and the blast throws out rock pieces. At least 20-25 people have died along with nearly 50 cattle (goats) here."
Many villagers have taken up contractual work at these mines for a meagre wage of rupees 60 per day. They do not know that the work is illegal.
These workers at the mining sites are often illiterate. They are not aware that mining is illegal. One of the labourers, said: "We are ordinary labourers. The contractor knows everything. We don't know if blasting dynamite is illegal or not. We just do as the contractor's orders."The contractors do employ young children in the mines. Many of them are barely eight-year-old who carry about 20 kilograms of rock pieces. They are given rupees 20 a day.
Bandainfo.com, July 13, 2007