India is moving away from coal, but what is it doing about communities displaced in mining areas?

The rapid progress towards clean energy did not prevent evictions in coal belts. This is a good time to take stock of life in the centers of coal mines in India. Earlier this month, India has quickly reiterated its commitment to the Paris climate agreement following the release of the United States from the multi-party agreement to curb global warming.

The government is increasingly shifting from electricity production from coal to renewable energy. As the price of solar energy has reached an unprecedented level of 2.44 Rs per kilowatt hour in May, the governments of the Uttar Pradesh states in Andhra Pradesh have ruled out additional thermal capacity. India’s draft National Electricity Plan, released in December, sees thermal power capacity at 69% of India’s electricity generation mix at 43% by 2027.

Another important milestone noted by the country last month was the conviction of former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and two other senior officials accused of criminal conspiracy and deception under the Indian Penal Code and corruption under The Law on Prevention of Corruption of the irregularities of allocation of coal block Thesgora-B Rudrapur in Madhya Pradesh.

The case was part of the coal scam under the former regime of the United Progressive Alliance called Coalgate. In 2014, the Supreme Court canceled 214 coal concessions granted between 1993 and 2013, citing “arbitrary misapplication of mind” and. In the last three years, there have been three convictions in the cases of coal scams.

Despite this, it is no exaggeration to say that the coal scam trial has done justice to the various mine-affected communities in the coal-rich regions of India. Even the transition to renewable energy has not slowed down the cycle of movement and the spectrum of contamination in these tapes. After the Supreme Court on the coal scam, there was the expectation that coal mining would slow down.

But that does not happen, in part because of the trial, the cancellation of most existing mining concessions, served as a justification for Coal India Limited is developing rapidly, citing a shortage of coal. India’s coal production has increased from 462 million tons to 536 million tons between 2014 and 2016, an increase of 16%. In 2015-16, Coal India Limited and Singareni Coalfields together contributed 93% of coal mining in India.

Adivasi and Dalit communities living in the shadow of public sector mines have been the hardest hit by this increase in mining activity. As Coal India has pursued an expansion target of 1.5 billion tons per year, entire villages have disappeared in less than three years. The city that gave its name to the Tetariakhar Indian coal mine in Jharkhand no longer exists because the last Dalit family living on the edge have been forced to move in 2015, supposedly because they were forced by officials to the company and militias Local authorities acting on your request. Now they live in the shadow of the discharges from the mine. The village of Barkuta in Chhattisgarh was completed by Kusmunda, one of the largest coal mines in Asia that could be adapted to any center of Delhi at its height.

The Indian Coal expansion was carried out using a combination of eminent domain laws to acquire land mass, citing national interest, while using exceptions to justify a coal shortage.

India’s urban water crisis calls for an integrated approach

We need solutions that address different aspects of the aquatic ecosystem and involve the collective participation of citizens and other stakeholders.

According to a UN report, about 1.2 billion people, almost a fifth of the world’s population, live in areas where water is scarce and physically 1.6 billion people, almost a quarter of The world’s population, face the scarcity of economic water. They lack basic access to water. The criticality of the water situation in the world has led to speculation about wars for water that become a real possibility in the future. In India, the problem is exacerbated by population growth and urbanization. The Asian Development Bank predicts that by 2030, India will have a water deficit of 50%.

The challenges of water in urban India
In urban India, the situation is critical. By 2015, about 377 million Indians lived in urban areas and, by 2030, the urban population is expected to reach 590 million. Already, according to the National Sample Survey, only 47% of urban households have individual water connections and about 40% to 50% of the water that would have been lost in distribution systems for various reasons. In addition, according to the 2011 census, only 32.7% of urban households in India are connected to a sewer pipe.
Any comprehensive solution to the problem of water in urban India must take into account the specific problems related to the management and distribution of water:

Pressure on water sources: Increasing water demand means increasing pressure on water sources, especially in cities. In a city like Mumbai, for example, 3,750 million liters per day (MLD) of water, including water for commercial and industrial use, are available, while 4,500 MLD is needed. The main water sources for cities like Mumbai are lakes created by dams in rivers near the city.

The distribution of available water is 386,971 connections to 13 million inhabitants of the city. When the distribution is difficult, the solution is the use of groundwater. A study conducted by the Center for Science and Environment, 48% of urban water supply in India comes from groundwater. The exploitation of groundwater for commercial and domestic use in cities lower groundwater level.

Problems with distribution and loss of water: Distribution challenges, such as loss of water due to theft, piloting, leaking pipes and faulty meter readings, lead to uneven distribution and not regulated water. In New Delhi, for example, the loss of water supply was 40% according to a study. In Mumbai, where most residents receive only 2 to 5 hours of water per day, non-recurring water loss accounts for about 27% of the world’s water supply.

This limits the budget of the municipal body and influences the improvement of the distribution infrastructure. Factors such as the difficulty of the terrain and legal problems with buildings also affect the water supply of many parts. According to one study, only 5% of tap water reaches the slums in 42 cities in India, including Delhi. A 2011 study also found that 95% of households in the slums of the Bombay kaula district of Bunder during certain times of the year use less than the WHO recommended a minimum of 50 liters per inhabitant per day.

Pressure Modi, not Mamata: The Gorkhaland agitation is directed at the wrong regime

On June 20, just before the Minister of the Union, Kiren Rijiju, arrived in Gangtok to hold the Yoga Day celebrations the next day, more than 6,000 people marched through the city to Gorkhaland. In the small state of Sikkim, it is a meeting. It was, in fact, larger than the 1975 demonstrations demanding the merger of Sikkim with India.

The next day, shortly after the yoga demonstration Rijiju received a delegation of local leaders from Gorkha. They echoed what Bimal Gurung, head of Gorkha Ene Mukti Morcha, based in Darjeeling in neighboring West Bengal, said that the only way to restore peace and justice to the people is the creation of Gorkha Gorkhaland.

This has long been the position of GJMM. The party has adhered to the same position when it signed an agreement with the central government and Bengal to create Territorial Administration Gorkhaland in July 2011, replacing the Gorkha Hill Council of Darjeeling established in 1988. That day, while the minister Mamata Banerjee said that West Bengal will not be divided, Gurung said that “it has its own political limitations and we have ours.”

However, after the agreement, the GJMM and Congress Banerjee Trinamool seemed to listen well. The party in power has not answered the first election to the territorial administration Gorkhaland in 2012, leaving the party to victory Gurung, taking the 45 seats. Gurung satisfaction by the agreement as a “milestone in a Gorkhaland state.”

Since then, however, the two separate parts. The ruling has only expanded when the territorial administration Gorkhaland is nearing the end of its first term on 3 August. The GJMM has now declared that this provision of governance can not work and that a separate state is the only way to repair Gorkha’s mistakes and safeguard his identity, language, and interests in accordance with the Constitution.

The Nepalese people of Darjeeling Hills have long dreamed of a separate state. In fact, they believe they have been fraudulently denied. Original sin, so to speak, is committed when the ruling elite of Bengal gave demographic drugs to the states,

Reorganization Commission in the 1950s, which ensured that a number of communities were not classified as tribes, which excludes the possibility that the hills are declared independent under the sixth annex of the Constitution. Successive regimes in Calcutta have done their utmost to maintain Darjeeling Hills in West Bengal. In 1988 and 2012, this was achieved by manufacturing, respectively, the Gorkha Hill Council of Darjeeling and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration so that they became Bengal government agencies instead of autonomous constitutional bodies.

This is the context in which two political decisions announced by the Banerjee government in May-June 2017 became the immediate triggers of agitation in progress.

On May 16, the state has made compulsory Bengali teaching in all schools up to class 10. Meanwhile, children must choose two from a basket of languages: Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Nepalese, Santhali, and English. It was the response to the Banerjee Narendra Modi regime to make the teaching of Hindi compulsory in schools affiliated to the Central Board of Education school.