The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Union Government ascertain public opinion before introducing the Mines and Minerals Bill in Parliament in the context of widespread and growing agitations against exploitation of mineral wealth in areas inhabited by Scheduled Tribes and others.
Addressing the media, party Working President Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma said persons being displaced or deprived of livelihood by mining activity should be adequately compensated, given a share in mining companies’ profits and provided alternative sources of livelihood. The Government should simultaneously ensure that no harm befell the environment because of mining.
Mr. Varma demanded that mines should not be leased indiscriminately leased and illegal mining condoned. The Government should focus its attention on promoting national interests and preserving environment in the proposed legislation.
Mr. Varma regretted that the Supreme court did not find anything wrong in the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to distribute color television sets to 33 lakh poor families. Government money should be utilized to better people’s lives and not to influence their voting behavior. One need not be surprised if parties promise free gold necklaces to women on the eve of elections. Luring voters with color TV sets or money or liquor violates the election code.
Mr. P. Bhaskara Rao, Secretary, took part in the media conference.