Report to be forwarded to Centre for environmental nod

BHOPAL: Only seven persons spoke in favour of Rio Tinto while 250 people spoke against it during the public hearing held at Kesarwar village, Chhattarpur district on Wednesday. Rio Tinto Group is a British multinational metals and mining corporation is seeking permission for diamond mining in Chhattarpur.

Public hearing was held by district administration to know the people’s views, which is mandatory for environment clearance for Rio Tinto Company before applying for Mining lease. The company had only Prospecting licence. The license expired in 2011 and now the company wants environmental clearance for mining.

After getting environmental clearance, the company will apply for Mining lease. Amit Bhatnagar, NGO activist, said, “ Many geologists and NGOs activists had assembled for the public hearing. But they were not allowed to speak. They were told to make their submissions in writing but administration had not made arrangement of papers at the venue. Illiterate Tribal do not know how to write.

But we managed to say that if Rio Tinto, which is a black- listed company, is given mining permission, it lead to destruction of forest and will be a threat to wild animals as well. Company has claimed to provide job to people but only a few have been given job. Nearly 5000 youths are jobless.” Collector M Akhtar, talking to Free Press, “ We will forward the report of public hearing to the government.

The company had only Prospective lease ( PL) for testing whether there is diamond or not. PL expired in 2011 and after that the company wanted environment clearance. After getting environment clearance, the company will apply for Mining lease. Only 7 spoke for the company and 250 spoke against the company. But the supporters of the project and its opponents were almost equally divided” Rio Tinto to work as per law of land: COO: Rio Tinto Chief Operating officer Tarun Malkani said, “ Rio Tinto has made long term commitment to MP and is developing a new benchmark for mine development in India. We will continue to work within the existing processes and law of the land to ensure we have the clearance to develop a world class mines in India.” COO said, “ We have not started mining we have been on ground for more than a decade since discovery, working carefully through the various requirement to develop this project”.

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