The Supreme Court’s judgment on 9th July 2013 allowed the proposal of the Union government’s plan to float a global tender at the earliest to revive Bharat Gold Mines Ltd., in Kolar Gold Fields. This judgment has promoted a spell of activity in KGF among four BGML workers co-operatives that today claim to represent the workers of Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. The Tender process has already started by the Service Provider MECON appointed by the Government. It is expected the Service Provider would complete the Tender Document shortly. There is much confusion over who will represent the workers once the bidding commences.
The system of democratic governance should have scope for decision making process by the people when their lives are going to be affected; space for deliberation and rational discussion where points of view with regards to what kind of economic development programme the area require and members of the population on whose behalf decisions are taken have an equal chance of having their views taken into account if the natural resources available locally is put into use.
In the same analogy, in today’s context the people of KGF, the mine workers and all the stake holders must be consulted, their views taken before the Government decides to sell the land, machinery, mineral resources and other BGML properties to a third party corporate company. For the reason that such crucial decision would have profound impact on the lives of every member of the KGF community and the neighboring areas.
Peoples Movement for KGF Development ( PMKD ) a civil society organization held extensive discussions with cross sections of people, professionals, organizations including the leaders of four BGML workers co-operatives. Our discussions have thrown up a wide range of issues and areas of concerns which need clarifications and answers.
It is in this context Peoples Movement for KGF Development ( PMKD ) is going to organize a seminar on Thursday 10th July 2014 between 2:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M at BEML Tamil Mandram Hall, Near Moidu Mahal, orgaum Railway station Road, Robertsonpet, KGF. The seminar will seek information and promote discussion on the following crucial matters:
- That any proposal for revival should be transparent as regards to the background of the corporate companies, their track records in running the mines.
- During the 120 years of gold mining activity of BGML only 576 acres of land was used for mining operation. As such is the case why the government is offering 12,000 acres of BGML land property for sale in the global tender.
- For how many years the mining operation would continue? Whether open cast or shallow mining is contemplated?
- What is the employment opportunity? How many direct and indirect/contract workers would be employed?
- How many BGML workers would be employed? How many BGML workers died or migrated to other places during the past 12 years? How many BGML workers are fit to be employed?
- Whether the revival plan would promote subsidiary and supporting industry?
- Where would the mining operation take place? Would it displace the 1,00,000 or more people living in the mining area?
- What kind of environmental impact the mining activity would have on the KGF Township and the surrounding areas? Whether environmental clearance have been obtained?
- How much of tailings the project proposes to use and at what rate of usage? Since the older tailings dumps had greater concentration of tailings, as these were from the richer veins, and used older technology where recovery was poorer. The project may try to use selectively the bottom tailing layers, as the gold will tend to sink to the bottom. So the actual tailing used will probably be much less than the 33 million tons in situ. This may explain the widely varying figures for project duration.
- How much water will the project use for gold extraction? There may be substantial water usage. Will the water be drawn from underground sources? What will that do to the water table? Where will this water be dumped?
- Does the project also have provision for using the tailing that is not feasible for gold extraction? Will it for example make them into stabilised mud blocks? That will at least for the time stop the problem of leaching of cyanide into the water table. But this should be an integral part of the project. Otherwise, like in Bhopal, waste management will become someone else’s head ache.
- Presently how many quarters/hutments are there in the mining area including those houses constructed recently?
- If 3100 workers are assured of getting houses in the mining areas what would be the fate of the remaining residents of mining area who are ex-miners or descendents of generation of mining workers?
Role of the state/Central Government
What is the role of the governments after the mining property is transferred to the new mining enterprise? Would the governments withdraw from the scene totally abdicating its constitutional responsibility to its citizens?
- Because what the mine workers and their dependent family members, descendents of generation of mine workers and the citizens of KGF, around three lakh people, need is not only revival of mines, but also a human existence, alternative employment opportunities, a hygienic atmosphere to live in, good health care, and better civic amenities, better education and housing, and above all, a secure future.
We are inviting many organizations/institutions to participate in the seminar. More specifically we are inviting women’s organisations, youth organizations, advocates Associations, Heads of all the religious organizations, Auto drivers associations, Taxi drivers associations, civil society organizations, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu welfare associations etc.,
Moreover we would be approaching the BGML management and the central government to seek out information on the issues that we will be discussing in the seminar. In the process we are inviting the leaders of four active BGML workers Co-operatives to the seminar requesting them to throw light on the above said issues/concerns.
We request your kind self, therefore, to participate in the seminar to discuss constructively on the above concerns which are most crucial, pressing and have a great bearing on the future of KGF.
With very warm regards,
Yours in solidarity
Core Committee Members
|A. James Paul
Head Master (Ret.)
Ex BEML Administrative Officer
|J. Kavi Arasan
|S. Mary Violet