Mining fine but shouldn’t be at cost of environment: Jairam Ramesh

SHILLONG, Feb 11: AICC general secretary, Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said the party favours coal mining but not at the cost of environment.
“Mining is an economic activity which creates employment. Let’s accept this. But it has to be done in an environmentally-responsible manner and according to the laws of the land. I can assure you that the Congress will follow the laws for environmentally-responsible and humanitarian mining,” Ramesh told journalists.
He was reacting to a query what steps the Congress will take to facilitate scientific mining of coal if voted to power in the state.
He felt that a blanket ban on mining creates adverse consequences for employment.
“We need infrastructure and jobs but the same cannot be at the cost of environment. Meghalaya is an environmentally-fragile area. We have to be extra careful in the hilly states. You have seen what happened in Uttarakhand,” the Congress leader said.
He mentioned the people in Meghalaya are opposed to uranium mining.
“During my meeting in 2009 with the then Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy, I had told him about these legitimate concerns of people. It is one thing to say we need uranium mining but if people have concerns or they are worried about adverse impact on public health, then I cannot be a party to this,” Ramesh said.
He said he had taken a stand in 2010 as the Union Environment Minister that uranium mining in Meghalaya does not open up. He said Union Minister, Jitendra Singh recently said in Parliament that the government wants to exploit the rich uranium deposits in Meghalaya.
“This is the difference between BJP and Congress. One looks at the deposits as something to be grabbed for private profit but the Congress is always sensitive to environmental consequences, whether it is about limestone, coal or uranium mining,” he added.

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