18 June 2008

Tiruvanamalai and Salem Districts Mining

Farmers and environmentalists are fighting an iron-ore mining project at Kanchamalai in Salem. Farmers with their families converged on the District Forest Office at Salem yesterday (Tuesday, June 17th, 2008) to file individual applications, seeking details of the proposed project to mine iron-ore from the pristine surroundings of the Kanchamalai hills by a joint venture company floated by Tamil Nadu Industrial Minerals Corporation Ltd (TIMCO) and the private steel major Jindals.

The magnetite ore to be mined is to be used for manufacturing iron ingots at the Mecheri plant of the South India Iron and Steel Co Ltd (SISCOL), a Lakshmi Mills-TN government JV taken over by the Jindals.

The applications contained five questions pertinent to the project and the Forest Department’s response to the forest clearance petitions filed by the company, besides the department’s EPA (Environmental Impact Assessment) documents.

The ravages of iron ore mining

According to official sources, TIMCO and SISCOL joint venture wants 1,000 acres of mineral-rich hills in two places in Tamil Nadu. While 638 acres is sought at Kanchamalai, revered for the indigenous medical practitioners and rich herbs, 330 acres has been asked for at Tiruvannamalai District (Vediappanmalai/Kauthimalai). Around 90,000 trees at Kanchamalai and 200,000 trees in Tiruvannamalai District will be felled if the project is cleared by the Forest Department.

Indicating that the Forest department has given its green signal for the project (which it rejected earlier), officials said, “Things are no more in our hands but with the Supreme Court, which sent a Committee on May 29th and 20th to Kanchamalai to make a report.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is sad news, particularly as Tamil Nadu was beginning to put so much emphasis on reforestation - but I suppose MONEY speaks. Interesting that the Forest Department changed it mind.