Sunday, 1 February 2015


Mining is one of those industries in the country that could ideally be banned in the first place. But, over the years, mines and quarries mushroomed all over the country. These mines and quarries are an eyesore to all of us. They look akin to a cancerous wound in what is otherwise green and pristine landscape.

When we talk of mines and quarries, one thing that comes to everyone’s mind is of rampant corruption that was unearthed some years back. We may not know, if those were a mere tip of an iceberg or otherwise. But, mining is about money and where money is involved corruption follows like a shadow. This is the image of the industry today. All those involved in this industry have a daunting task of restoring the tarnished image.

Mining do contribute to nation’s economy. There is no question of this. But, the sector’s contribution to GDP is insignificant at a mere two percent. This contribution is disproportionate to the irreversible damage it causes to our environment and that of aesthetic beauty of our landscape. Mining at best benefits just few individuals at the cost of the nation and communities.

Over the years, people directly impacted by such ventures in their neighbourhood are beginning to understand the consequences and are slowly beginning to raise their voices and concerns as was evident from media reports.  In most cases, it is always difficult for people to make their voices heard and grievances adequately addressed. Corporate people know how best to play their cards.

However, media reports on this kind of issues enabled people to understand the issue better and know their rights and responsibilities.  People are increasingly becoming emboldened to make decisions that are in their interests even if it meant displeasing certain section of the people.

This awareness and the understanding on need to safeguard the interest of one’s own community were evident when on February 1, 2015 people of Nangkor village in Pemagatshel overwhelmingly rejected a mining proposal below their village.  The community passed a major test in showing that when it concerns the interests of the community, people are as cohesive as ever. After a daylong consultation meeting people voted for or against the proposal. An overwhelming majority rejected the proposal. The proponent managed mere six votes from his closest cronies.

It certainly is a matter of pride for the people to have given a clear decision. It is not that difficult for the people to make this decision. Living by the side of a major gypsum mines in Khothakpa for over three decades, local people have nothing but abhorrence on the ills of mining. People know just how inconvenient it is for them to be living amidst dusts flying, machines roaring round the clock and the sore sight of haunting scar each day.

People gave their verdict in no uncertain term although there was lot of apprehension among the people who are uneducated on how the decisions will be forced upon them in favor of the proposal. It was a good sign for the people who are marginal farmers to be harboring such concerns. It was a sign right from the onset that no matter how poor and uneducated they may be, they are not going to yield easily to any kind of pressure.

 After the meeting some people said that some officials seem to sympathize with the proponent. But they cared less about it. They say that from the past experience this is nothing new. One man said that the proponent had the audacity to apply for mining just two years after his illegal mining in the guise of land development was halted. He said these kind of sympathetic officials are abetting and in fact making it possible for shady works to take place.

Gyembo Namgyal
February 1, 2015; 10:10 PM

Dear readers,
I am back after a month long sabbatical from blogging. Hope all the readers are doing well, reading lot and writing too. For many, reading and writing must have made it to your long list of New Year resolutions. Great idea.
Best Wishes, Kadrinche la.

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