Diamond Mining by Rio Tinto in Bundelkhand
A day after exit polls foretold BJP victory in Madhya Pradesh,
the party's national vice-president Uma Bharati declared it was time to "speak
to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan about illegal mining of diamonds by
British mining major Rio Tinto" in Bundelkhand.
So far, Congress had alleged illegal diamond
mining from Chhattarpur district by Rio-Tinto which signed a state-support
agreement with the Chouhan government in October 2010. The company still does
not have the required mining lease from the Union ministry of mines.
"Now we are sure BJP is coming to power in Madhya Pradesh,
Rajasthan, Delhi and Chhattisgarh, I will personally talk to chief minister
Chouhan about rampant, unaccounted for diamond mining from Bundelkhand areas and
illegal sand mining on Narmada banks," Uma Bharati told reporters.
"Rio Tinto digs up raw diamonds, carries it to helicopters and
flies it away. This was a black-listed company when I was Union minister for
mining. I would not even invite them to join the meetings with mining
companies," Bharati said. "It is a dichotomy that the region from where a
foreign company takes away our diamonds is the same place where a father hacked
his three children to death because he could not feed them," she said.
Bharati compared the diamond mining in Chhattarpur and Panna to
the mining of blue sapphires and rubies in the most backward and poor district
of Orissa - Kalahandi, Koraput and Bolangir. "People here die of hunger and
foreign companies walk away with riches beneath the earth," said Bharati. "This
is the kind of discrimination that breeds Maoism and red terror."
Courtesy : The Times of India