It's rehab time for ravaged residents too

Reclamation, rehabilitation measures leaves Bellary mines flush with new jobs
Last Updated 03 December 2012, 18:57 IST

 One of the biggest beneficiaries of the reclamation and rehabilitation (R&R) projects in the mines of the district are the people who are getting work.

Virtually jobless, following the ban on the illegal extraction of ore, they have now found new jobs in construction — notably in the building of check dams and in afforestation measures in mining ravaged areas.

The drought in the last few months had deprived agriculture workers, holding one or two acres, of their livelihood and the resumption of mining activities, coupled with the R&R measures in the last couple of months have come as a shot in the arm for them.
Most people in the villages are happy that the mining industry provides them jobs, but are disappointed with the illegal extraction of ore and its unscientific transportation.

Lives of people had been ravaged by the mining activities, like the ecology, in more than 50 villages including Ramgad, Swami Malai, Ramana Malai, Doni Malai, Bharatarayanaharivu and the forest areas of Gunda in Sandur and Hospet taluks.

Thousands of workers had found direct or indirect employment in the iron and manganese ore mines of these taluks. But the blanket ban on mining activities in the last 18 months had brought life to a standstill for them. Few had any other option except to look for alternative employment.  

Some others owning agricultural land are in a piquant situation. The mining industry, which was operating on a small scale, was given a significant boost in 2002 owing to increased demand. By 2011, however, the industry came crashing down because of the ban ordered by the Supreme Board.

Owners of land, in a bid to make a fast buck, allowed the digging of their land for mining purposes.

With the ban in place, they lost out both on the benefits of mining as well as the crops they could have grown. However, the R&R measures in the more than 40 mines of Sandur have now given a new ray of hope for workers in a number of villages.

Once legalised mining resumes, more workers expect to gain indirect employment, as lorry owners, drivers, cleaners, drivers and operators of cranes, excavators, gardeners, cooks. In addition, jobs as accounting clerks and security gaurds are also expected to become available.

(Published 03 December 2012, 18:57 IST)

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