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Mining

When in Rome

Issue Date: Feb 15, 1993
FOR SEVERAL centuries, Udaipur has been renowned for the exquisite use of marble in its magnificent palaces. But it was known only recently that the city rests atop the world's largest marble reserves, and the rush to exploit this bonanza is wreaking havoc on Rajasthan's beautiful lake city.

Labourers become quarry managers

Issue Date: Jan 31, 1993
THAT LITERACY is liberation may be rhetoric in many parts of the country, but not in Tamil Nadu's Pudukkottai district. Total literacy was reported in this granite quarry region in August 1992, and it brought with it, for the scores of women workers, freedom from bondage and penury.

Environmental hitches

Issue Date: Jan 31, 1993
The end of 1992 saw advocates of development-at-any-cost increasingly impatient with the Union ministry for environment and forests (MEF), whom they accused of blocking development projects worth several thousand crores of rupees.

Dam of death

Issue Date: Jan 15, 1993
YUGOSLAV engineers are working desperately to ease the pressure on a damaged dam in Montenegro, to prevent the release of millions of tonnes of toxic mining sludge into the Danube and other Balkan rivers. Senior officials working on the dam'say the impact would be "disastrous as it would poison the, river, killing fish and other aquatic life". The engineers have completed a new support dam and are dredging another channel in the river Tara as part of their efforts to avert this ecological disaster. The UN disaster relief agency in Geneva has mobilised international

Occupational hazard

Issue Date: Nov 15, 1992
Workers in noisy coal washeries have been shown to suffer considerable hearing loss. According to one study, 20 per cent of washery workers had mildly handicapped hearing -- hearing loss becomes a handicap when the ability to hear conversational speech is impaired -- while the others developed slight hearing impairment. Among unexposed workers, only 30 per cent developed slight impairment, while the remaining had no significant hearing loss (Indian Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol 12 No 5).

Decaying laboratory

Issue Date: Oct 15, 1992
A LABORATORY set up by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research deep in the Kolar gold field mines to study proton decay may be wound up because poor gold yields have forced closure of the mines. Since the past 12 years, scientists in the lab located 2.3 km below the surface of the earth have been trying to discover whether protons, found in the nuclei of atoms, decay. Until the 1970s, protons were thought to be immortal, and confirmation of its decay would mean all matter would some day become nothing.

Making profits for the West

Issue Date: Aug 31, 1992
WESTERN investors are slowly destroying Papua New Guinea's lush green rainforests with their utter disregard for environmental safeguards while raking in profits from the island's immense natural wealth, be it copper, gold, lumber or oil. And the PNG government, its hands bound by a foreign debt to the tune of US $ 2.5 billion, will do nothing about it.

Tribals oppose uranium mining

Issue Date: Aug 15, 1992
RESIDENTS of Domiasiat and Wahkaliar villages near Cherrapunji in Meghalaya have formed village action committees to resist a proposed uranium mine in the region. Students, welfare organisations and opposition parties in the state have joined hands to form the Khasi Jaintia Environment Protection Council (KJEPC) to support them.

Healthy move, say environmentalists,hegemony, complain states

Issue Date: Jul 31, 1992
WHEN WITH 'big brother' presumption, the Centre decided to 'help' the states of Haryana and Rajasthan regulate their industrial development, and arrest the adverse effect of this development on the Aravallis, it stirred up a hornet's nest, with development and the states on one side and environment and the Centre on the other.

Making hay while forests shine

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1992
THE latest Economic Survey (1991-92) presents a very interesting set of statistics. It shows that, out of all types of commercial undertakings of state departments, only those based on forests and mining have maintained a steady profit margin between 1985 and 1992, while all the others -- industrial firms, dairies, irrigation and power projects -- have suffered losses. This is when many minerals and forest resources are sold cheaply and
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