India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts of

Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

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State Overview

The state of Jharkhand was formed in 2000, when it was carved out of southern Bihar. According to the 2001 Census, the state has a population of 26,909,428. Jharkhand has experienced very fast economic growth rates in the past few years; in 2004-05, the economy grew by a staggering 33.83 per cent.197 The state is extremely rich in mineral resources, with the largest supplies of iron ore, copper ore and mica in the country, as well as 29 per cent of India’s coal reserves. It also has some of the country’s most industrialised cities, such as Jamshedpur, Ranchi and Bokaro Steel City. A number of large companies, such as the Tata Iron and Steel Company, are based in Jharkhand. Despite this rapid industrialisation, almost 75 per cent of the population remains dependent on the agricultural sector, with the main crops including rice, wheat, potatoes and pulses.

Regardless of its economic growth, the state still faces huge challenges in terms of human development. Over 40 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, which is significantly higher than the national average of 27.5 per cent. There are also vast gaps between the urban and rural parts of the state. Whilst only 20.2 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line in towns and cities, in the rural areas this figure is 46.3 per cent. Overall, more than two out of every five people cannot meet their basic needs in Jharkhand. High poverty is reflected in all other measures of socio-economic development. 198

The state has a very large ST population, with 26.3 per cent of the population comprising STs. The average adult literacy rate is 53.56 per cent, the second lowest in the country above Bihar. For the SC and ST populations, the literacy rates are even worse. Only 37.56 per cent of people from SCs are literate in the state, and for SC women living in the rural areas, the figure is a shocking 17.73 per cent. In the case of the STs, the situation is not much better—40.67 per cent of STs in Jharkhand are literate, whilst the figure is 24.38 per cent for ST females in rural parts of the state.199

The Jharkhand Development Report 2009 reported that the percentage of main workers in the total population in Jharkhand is considerably lower than the India average. In fact, Jharkhand has the minimum percentage of people having full employment as compared to all the other states considered. This may indicate a lack of regular and stable employment opportunities for the population in the state.

Status of Children

The burning coal from CCL mines, Hazaribagh (Photo September 2009)

As can be expected in a state where general human development indicators are poor, the status of children in Jharkhand is also very worrying. The total child population is 10,708,694 (14 years and under), and 13,208,344 (19 years and under).200 According to the 2001 Census , there were 407,200 child labourers in the state (aged 14 years and under). Although there are no figures for the number of children working in hazardous occupations as a whole, the figure is likely to be high. The NCLP is currently operating in nine districts in the state, and by May 2007, had rehabilitated a total of 12,464 children, according to official data.201 In September 2009, the International Labour Organisation’s International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour launched a convergence project to tackle child labour in five states of India with the largest child labour problem, one of these being Jharkhand. It also aims to tackle the trafficking and migration of children from these states.

As of March 2008, there were 143,143 children (age group between 6 and 14 years) officially out of school in Jharkhand.202 Pratham’s ASER 2008 survey indicated that around 5.6 per cent of children in Jharkhand are not in school.203 This would suggest that around 416,587 children in that age group are in fact out of school in the state. The ASER figures also show that nearly a third (30.1 per cent) of children aged 3–4 years are not enrolled in an anganwadi or pre-school. According to the 2001 Census, 71 per cent of girls living in rural areas in the state are married by the age of 18 years.

Unsurprisingly, child health data in the state also indicates a need for urgent action. The sex ratio in the state is 941 girls to every 1,000 boys, suggesting a high level of male child preference and female foeticide. The NFHS-3, conducted in 2005-06, showed that IMR in the state are 69 per 1,000 live births. Very worryingly, this was actually an increase from 54 per 1,000 live births when the NFHS-2 survey was conducted in 1998.204 The figure for rural areas is even worse, where 73 out of every 1,000 children do not survive past their first year.

Mining in Jharkhand

In 2007-08, Jharkhand was the leading producer of coal and kyanite, and the second leading producer of gold in the country. The state accounts for about 35 per cent of rock phosphate, 29 per cent of coal, 28 per cent of iron ore, 16 per cent of copper ore and 10 per cent of silver ore resources of the country. In 2007-08, the value of mineral production in Jharkhand was Rs. 95.28 billion, an increase of 11.5 per cent from the previous year. In terms of value, over 90 per cent of the state’s mineral production comes from coal. The state accounted for 8.6 per cent of the total value of mineral production in the country in 2007- 08.

Uranium is being mined and processed by Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) for use in the country’s nuclear power reactors through four underground mines, an open-cast mine, two processing plants and a by-product recovery plant, all in Purbi Singhbhum district.205 The district is also famous for Jamshedpur, the first steel city of India, where Tata Steel has its operations.

Mining continues to be the source of many controversies in Jharkhand. Despite the fact that the state is extremely rich in mineral resources, the population, particularly its large ST population, have failed to benefit from this wealth. The district of Paschim Singhbhum is blessed with large reserves of iron ore and manganese. However, this has not led to improved living conditions for the population. Almost half the population is below the poverty line, and the percentage of households with a toilet in the district is a measly 26.6 per cent. Similarly, only 13.9 per cent of children aged between 12 and 35 months are fully immunised in the district, and the literacy rate remains very low, at 46.45 per cent.

Forests in Jharkhand cover around 29 per cent of the state’s total geographic area. 206 Much of the state’s mineral resources are located under these forests. For the mostly adivasi population who live in these forests and depend upon them for their livelihoods and survival, the state government’s rapid drive for industrialisation through mining has meant they have been displaced from their land and forests.207 Estimates suggest that 55 per cent of the people who have been displaced for coal mining are STs, and just 25 per cent of these have been resettled. A report by PANOS looked at the impact of coal mining on adivasis in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand. Based on oral testimonies from people displaced by coal mining activities, it reveals how damaging the breakage of links between the adivasi communities and water, forest and land resources has been. The population depended on these forests for their livelihoods, as well as for many products used in their everyday life.208

According to the Census, a population of 317,197 were working in mining and quarrying in the state in 2001.209 Of these, 2,862 were children aged 14 years and under, and 13,146 were children aged 19 years and under. In 2005, 130,800 people were employed in the formal mining sector in the state, a drop from 149,100 in 2002.210

Lack of livelihood opportunities has forced many people to engage in illegal coal mining in the state. A report released by the Mines and Geology department in Jharkhand estimates that 45,000 people in the state are involved in illegal mining, and that this is leading to a loss of over Rs. 1 billion a year for the state and coal mining companies.211 This form of mining is dangerous and unhealthy for the illegal miners; their life spans are allegedly cut short by 7 years because of this difficult work.212

Some of the country’s highly industrialised cities such as Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Bokaro and Dhanbad are located in Jharkhand owing to its large mineral resources. The following is a glance of the state’s achievements in the industrial sector: Jharkhand is the largest fertilizer manufacturer in India of its time with production at Sindri, has the first iron and steel factory at Jamshedpur, has the largest steel plant in Asia—the Bokaro steel plant, has the biggest explosives factory at Gomia and the first methane gas well in the country. Minerals ranging from (state’s rank in the country given in brackets) iron ore (1), coal (3), copper ore (1), mica (1), bauxite (3), manganese, limestone, china clay, fire clay, graphite (8), kyanite (1), chromite (2), asbestos (1), thorium (3), sillimanite, uranium ( Jaduguda mines, Narwa Pahar) (1), gold (Rakha mines) (6), silver and several other minerals are found in the state. Large deposits of coal and iron ore support concentration of industry in centres like Jamshedpur, Bokaro and Ranchi.213

The Jharia coalfields, in Dhanbad district, are infamous for their coal fires—underground fires that have been raging here for decades. The state company Bharat Cooking Coal Limited (BCCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited, estimates that it has a total of 67 fires in its concession.214 The fires have raged here for nearly 100 years since coal mining first started in the district. This underground inferno is threatening the homes and health of millions in the area. The intense heat coming up from the earth has caused subsidence in homes, and the ground below one village has already collapsed, engulfing houses and killing a whole family. This land now used for coal mining was previously forests and farmlands, and the local population were farmers. Now, they have been forced to become coal miners, with many children as well as adults toiling away in the mines in dangerous conditions. The villages surrounding Jharia have complained of serious health problems, particularly lung diseases and respiratory problems caused by air pollution. Although BCCL provides free healthcare for its employees and their families, the rest of the population is forced to fend for itself, living in increasingly dangerous conditions. BCCL is advising the local population to relocate, but the Rs. 2,000 per household compensation they are offering is not enough for them to find a new home. 215

Jaduguda, located in Purbi Singhbhum district, is an underground uranium mine, which began operations in 1967. The mine workforce (largely adivasi contractors) works 1,600– 2,000 ft below the surface without any protective clothing.216 The ore is brought from the mines to the Jaduguda mill in open trucks. Every day, around 200 trucks, mostly uncovered, pass through the town loaded with uranium ore.217 Although the government insists that there is no threat of radiation to the local people or health hazards from the uranium mining, local residents tell a different story. A number of studies have documented high levels of health problems in the local community ranging from miscarriages, to children born with physical and mental deformities. A survey conducted by Indian Doctors for Peace and Development showed a significant increase in congenital deformities among babies of mothers who lived around the uranium mining area.218

In the mica mining areas of Giridih and Koderama, an NGO has reported large numbers of children working in the mines. An estimated 18,000 children in these two districts are involved in mica picking most of them coming from STs.219 The Santhal adivasis have occupied the forests for many decades now. However, since mica mining took over the area in 1980, many of the local people have lost their traditional forms of livelihoods and now collect scrap mica to make a living. The majority of the labour force consists of women and children. Accidents are reportedly common, and occupational health diseases, such as asthma and TB, have been observed in both child and adult workers.220

Boys walk with cycle loads of coal for 3–4 days at a stretch, to sell coal in the big towns Hazaribagh (Photo September 2009)

Hazaribagh district: Key facts

Total population: 2,277,475 (Census 2001)

Population (0–14 years): 937,835 (Census 2001)

Literacy rate: Total 57.74 per cent; Male 71.81 per cent; Female 42.87 per cent (Census 2001)

Percentage of out-of-school children (6–14 years): 1.5 per cent (ASER 2008)

Percentage of children enrolled in AWC or pre-school (3–4 years): 91.4 per cent (ASER 2008)

Number of child labour (5–14 years): 26,004 (Census 2001)

Under five mortality rate (ranking): 193 out of 593 districts surveyed (Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh)

Hazaribagh: Children of Black Gold

“My name is Helena (name changed) and I am 17 years old. I am from the local village of Potanga. I have been working in the coal dumping site for the last 5–6 years. There is no fixed wage for us.

It is depends on the availability of coal to load one truck of coal. But on an average we get 10–12 days work in a month. I earn about Rs. 800–1,000 per month but this is not enough to support my family.”

Source: Interview carried out in Potanga village, Hazaribagh, September 2009[/quote]

Jharkhand is a state predominantly having an adivasi population living in the midst of the curse of mineral abundance. Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) is a public sector coal mining company in Jharkhand. The case study presented here is about the children living in the coal mining region. It is not only about their life as child labour or as communities who have been displaced from their lands and forest-agriculture based economy into an economy revolving around coal, but to also provide a glimpse into the lives of children, which could be similar to those living in coal mining regions in other parts of the country as well. The case study is drawn from visits to specific mine sites in Hazaribagh which is one of the largest coal mining belts in the country. Mining is often projected as leading to economic growth and progress of the local population. The case study was undertaken to analyse the extent to which these assumptions are accurate from the perspective of the status of children living and working in the coal mining region.

The case study was undertaken in some of the mine sites of CCL in Jarimari region of Badkagaon block, Urimari project area in Hazaribagh district. Field visits include meetings with community leaders, women’s groups, mine labour, youth, school teachers, and other community service providers like ANM, anganwadi teachers, sarpanchs’, and also officials from the company, the district authorities, forest, revenue and labour departments in order to understand the impacts vis-à-vis children’s access to food, safe drinking water, social security, education and health.

History of the Coal Mining Project

CCL is included in the mini-ratna group of companies. The coal projects of CCL in Hazaribagh area are divided into south Urimari project and north Urimari project. CCL was re-organised in the year 1986 into two separate companies— Northern Coalfields Limited and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL). At present CCL has 11 areas, 65 mines, (26 underground and 39 open-cast), seven washeries (four medium coking coal and three non-coking coal), spread over 2,600 sq km of Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Giridih, Bokaro, Chatra and Palamu districts of Jharkhand state, having coal reserves of 33.562 billion tonnes (medium coking coal 14.023 billion tonnes and non-coking coal 19.539 billion tonnes). During 2006-07, CCL produced 41.35 million tonnes, its highest ever production.

The Urimari project of CCL is one of its open-cast mega projects. It was established in 1973 with a maximum productive capacity of 1.3 million tonnes per year. From 1973 onwards it is situated in Jerjera gram panchayat, which is the south Urimari project. This project spreads across 14 adivasi villages. The major areas under this project are Potanga, Jerjara and Urimari, which account for 60–70 wards as a whole. There are at least 84 revenue villages in the Badkagoan block of Hazaribag district.

The Mining Activities and Its Impact on Children

The local people, the officials of CCL and the local NGO, Swaraj Foundation all agreed that coal mining is expanding and more areas of land are coming under coal extraction. The once rich agricultural belt has today been converted into large coal pits where no other livelihood is possible other than mining. As these are open-cast coal mines, the continuous digging for coal on vast stretches of erstwhile agricultural lands in the thick forests of the Eastern Ghats, is said to have caused serious environmental and health problems for local communities, especially children.

Coal extraction is considered as one of the most polluting mining activities and has serious implications on climate change concerns. Yet India’s agenda of coal expansion in the coming decade to meet its energy demands with 70 per cent of this being met from coal-based power, implies that a large population of children, especially adivasis and dalits, who live in the coal mining region of the central Indian belt, in the south like Tamil Nadu and parts of the northeast like Meghalaya, will suffer from serious long term impacts. Moreover, most of the coal is found in some of the most backward states and regions like Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, the santhal region of West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Child Labour in the Hazaribagh Coal Mines

Very few employees of the Urimari project are from the local adivasi villages. On the other hand, the local people work as casual labour and many of the mine workers are children and youth from the surrounding villages who were displaced from their land. They are involved in loading and unloading the trucks. Each day 70–80 trucks ply on this road making 300– 350 trips in total. Each truck requires 15–18 labourers to load the coal where groups of families from the surrounding villages or migrant families work together. It was observed that in almost every group four to five workers were below the age of 18 and the majority were barely 20. Many of these adolescent workers were adivasi girls and also young mothers who bring their infants to the mine site. Interviews with the workers revealed that majority of the workers are drop outs from school and rarely does one find a youth who has gone up to the level of class XII.

The ‘coal boys’ – young boys enrolled in school, but out all the time Hazaribagh (Photo September 2009)

The workers reported that the company provides 10 trucks per day for the local people as a source of livelihood for which they get Rs.1,200–1,300 per truck for loading 12 tonnes of coal. This is shared among all the members of the group. On an average, the workers load 18–20 tonnes per truck and get an additional wage of Rs.100 for every tonne. However, their income is entirely dependent on the availability of coal, which is erratic and hence the workers do not earn any money on some days.

When questioned, the officials of CCL denied the presence of any child labour in their mine sites but commented that as child labour exists all over the country they are not to be blamed.

“There is no child labour in the site and we prohibit that in the mining site. The issue of child labour is not new and not related to mining alone. Mining is not responsible at all for the rising trend of child labour and there is no relationship between mining and the issue of child labour”.

–As stated by the General Manager and Superintendent of Planning and Implementation (SOP) of CCL

On further questioning the officials admitted that children accompany their parents to the mine site and they may be involved in assisting the adults in some of the activities due to poverty. However, visits to the mine sites in the area revealed that children were clearly a large section of the mine workers and the officials preferred to turn the other side, almost as a favour to the mine workers’ families for allowing the children to work and eke out a living.

Women and children from almost every household collect raw low-grade coal from the surroundings of the mine sites for getting a subsidiary income. They burn the coal at home, which is then purchased by petty traders at their doorstep for paltry amounts of Rs.20–30 per bag. The traders, in turn, sell this to poor domestic consumers and hotels in the town for Rs.100 per bag. Therefore, it was found that women and children are continuously working but earning very low incomes. The constant exposure to the smoke due to burning of coal at home is causing respiratory problems among these women and children.

Displacement and Rehabilitation

In Urimari, 14 villages with 95 per cent adivasi population were displaced by CCL and apart from monetary compensation the villagers reported that they did not receive any other benefits from the company. The young girls working in the mine sites complained that although they were opposed to the expansion of the coal mines, their villages are like islands around mine pits and the mining companies are eating into their village lands till they have no choice but to allow land acquisition.

Children play with coal in mining affected community in Urimari Project area, Hazaribagh (Photo September 2009)

There is not even public transport facility provided either by the company or by the government. There is a school that was set up by the company but it is dysfunctional. The only other facility provided is electricity, which is very erratic. Medical facilities are mainly provided to employees of the company and not to the local community or to the contract workers.

Discussions with the village headman of Burkhundwah village are testimony of the manner in which the village leaders are bought over by the company to agree to the mining projects and to ensure that the people do not protest. The village is to be displaced and the village headman has already entered into an agreement with the company for it to be relocated to another place, with little or no consultation with the affected families, or with the women. The village leader was reluctant to express any negative impacts of the coal mining.

Status of Anganwadi Centres and Children’s Health

As part of our study, we enquired about the status of child protection institutions like anganwadis and primary schools. Not all villages are covered by the anganwadi centres. In some places we were told that there were only mini-anganwadis which is almost equal to not having an anganwadi. For example, Burkhundwah village does not have an anganwadi but is covered by the anganwadi in Potanga village. The anganwadi worker stated that she has 125 children in her register although the capacity of the anganwadi is only 40 children. Obviously only children from Potanga village access it as infants and little children cannot come to the main centre. Although the record shows only five children as being malnourished, the worker admitted that majority of the children she visits are malnourished. As the anganwadi has no infrastructure, the anganwadi worker is running it from her house. Only 20–25 children attend the anganwadi regularly as most of the children are taken to the mine site by their parents.

The anganwadi worker stated that the main health problems of the children were skin diseases, malaria and TB but there is no medical facility, hence a lot of dependence is on local healers whose traditional knowledge is also getting diluted by external influences, and people said they were not totally confident in these healing practices.

The ANM of Jarjara when interviewed shared her health records with the team. She serves a population of 18,350 which has 23 anganwadis in all. According to her records, atleast 20 per cent of the reported cases of TB come directly from people working in mining activities and this has impacts on children. Not only adults, children are also very malnourished, with absolute malnutrition cases among children reported by her being 500–700, and among children between the ages of 3 and 6 years, she has reported more than 1,000 cases. There is no PHC in the vicinity and the anganwadi worker stated that the ANMs and health personnel do not regularly visit the anganwadi to conduct health check-up for the children. The poor conditions of the roads due to mining trucks and lack of public transport to this area serves as an excuse for the health personnel not to visit the villages.

The local communities do not have access to any of the CCL hospitals but have to mainly depend on private practitioners in the town. Due to the difficult geographical terrain and lack of access to transport, very few women are able to go to the PHC for institutional deliveries. The worker also expressed concern over the fact that most of the women are malnourished and the likelihood of complications in deliveries, infant mortality and children being born with low birth weight, complications after delivery and ill-health during the first year of birth are high due to this. Besides, the condition of the roads is so bad with pot-holes made by the constant movement of trucks that it is dangerous for pregnant women to travel by these roads.

In Potanga village, the discussion with the anganwadi worker revealed the terrible health condition of the children. Of the 40 children who are enrolled in the centre (which still does not have any infrastructure and activities are conducted under a tree), five are absolutely (grade IV) malnourished, and 15 come under the Grade II and III categories of malnourishment. Of the seven births recorded in the current year, only two have been institutional deliveries.

Displaced women, with children at their side, scavenging for coal, the only source of livelihood today, Hazaribagh (Photo September 2009)

Three to five cases of TB have been identified recently in Burkhundwah village and the people attributed this to the mining activity of CCL. The women in this village complained that alcoholism has become a serious problem after mining started and said that 80 per cent of the income is spent on alcohol by the men. Because of this the women said that they have to work harder to make a living and therefore, are unable to find the time and stamina to take care of their children. They also stated that because the men do not share their majority earnings at home, they are unable to cope with the rise in prices of food commodities and are not able to maintain even a basic diet for their children.

The CCL officials denied that there are any cases of TB or silicosis among mine workers, whether permanent or casual, and said that the company was taking precautions to prevent these diseases. They attributed the health problems to consumption of alcohol by the workers.

Water: A Looming Crisis for Women and Children

One major problem discussed by the women was the depletion of groundwater and the lack of access to water for drinking and domestic purposes. Their local streams are highly contaminated and they complained that they cannot use this water for drinking, for bathing or even for use by animals. Hence, they have to walk long distances to fetch water unlike in earlier times. The study team found that in some of the relocated villages, the drinking water supply is totally dependent on the company. The water trucks usually come at midnight and women were found walking to the collection point at 12 a.m in the night and waiting for hours before the truck arrived. This supply is also erratic and sometimes the women have to walk back with empty cans when the truck does not turn up. Hence, women are working 24/7 whether directly in the mining activities or overburdened with domestic chores created due to mining.

In Potanga village where CCL works in Piparwar, between Tanwah and Chatra areas, the young girls have to walk for 1.5–2 km in the middle of the night for collecting drinking water and here again it is the same story. Only limited and erratic water is supplied to the people and as this is the only source, the rest of the water bodies being too contaminated for usage, the people have to fight amongst themselves. The panchayat leaders do not respond to the appeals of the women about the water problems as they are accomplices to the company agents.

No anganwadi for this child– the mine site is his playground (Photo September 2009)

The water shortage as well as the contamination has been creating an unhygienic atmosphere for the children. They cannot afford to bathe regularly nor can they wear washed clothes. Because of this, children in this area were found to have skin diseases and diarrhoea. One of the reasons for malnourishment could also be due to the worms in the stomach as a result of poor sanitation among the children. The dust from the coal mines was found to cover the entire area including the houses, the people, the water bodies, and the food and water consumed. Probably, it is because of this that the women complained that children suffered from cough, cold and fevers regularly and respiratory illnesses appear to be high among the minors while incidence of TB is high among adults.


A visit to the primary school in Bhurkhundwah village revealed that there is only one para-teacher who works regularly and the regular teachers are either not posted here or are allotted other non-teaching work by the government like taking care of mid-day meals, undertaking voters’ surveys, and other government duties and hence, are rarely found doing their job. The total strength of the school, which has classes I to V, as per the school record, is 130 children, but the teacher admitted that not more than 30 or 40 students attend regularly. As the para-teacher is the only teaching staff available and there is barely any infrastructure to have separate classrooms, the children of all the classes are made to sit together and taught simultaneously. This is a reason for lack of interest among students to come to school especially as the poverty at home demands their presence in the mine-sites. Hence drop-out rate from school is high.

The team managed to find the school headmaster in the main town of Jarjara, and discussed with him the status of education among the children. He was of the opinion that because of the mid-day meal, the teachers’ attention was diverted to nonteaching activities and therefore, this was the main reason for the drop-out rate. Although he was initially reluctant to show the school registers and denied any drop-out rate or poor attendance for fear of being held responsible, he later admitted that the mining activities have a serious affect on the children’s education as mining has created landlessness and poverty and hence more children are having to work in the mine sites as casual labour.

The Jarjara High School serves the children of three villages— Urmari, Potanga and Jarjara—covering an area of 50–60 wards within a radius of 15–20 km. The total strength of the school, as per the register is 345 from classes I to X, although the DISE reports show only 306 enrolled. The headmaster expressed that due to lack of adequate teachers and distraction due to multiple government duties, the government school is unable to provide quality education.

He noted that the mining company gives grants to the private schools in order to build their public image but they do not give the government schools such grants. He further stated that the drop-out rate is very high from class VIII, as, young boys and girls are engaged in coal loading and transportation work in order to support their families. However, the headmaster shared that technically they do not consider that there is any drop-out as the students attend school a few days in a week and work in the mines on the other days. Many of them sit for the exams at the end of the year in order to ensure that their names are not cancelled from the registers. Nevertheless, very few manage to pass the exams due to poor quality time given to studies.

There is not a single NCLP school in the area although there are many child labourers. This is probably because there is no official acknowledgement of child labour in the area.

In Potanga village the women complained that children, especially teenagers, do not go to school regularly, and instead, are influenced by anti-social elements of the mining communities. The mothers complained that they are addicted to drugs, tobacco, alcohol, waste their money in gambling, video games and mobile phones, instead of giving their earnings at home for household needs. Therefore, women have to work harder and depend on the uncertain wages from the mines. The headmaster of the high school in Potanga village also complained that the mining activities are not good for children and the quick money they earn from mining, gives them the freedom to be deviant and not attend school. Table 2.13 gives the enrolment data for Badkagaon block.


By year 2025 it is estimated that another million people will be displaced by proposed coal mine expansion, according to a study conducted by Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CPMDI). The large-scale displacement of people will be caused by land requirement for coal mining which will reach 2,925 sq km in 2025 from the current 1,470 sq km, as stated by B. Dayal, General Manager, CMPDI. The study conducted by us only touched the tip of the iceberg in a few villages in Urimari project, but even this glimpse revealed the harsh realities of the lives of children living in the coal belt. Here again, the mining activities are under the public sector company which has also won a mini-ratna. Yet little regard has been paid to the quality of life of the children and to their development needs.

While the state services of anganwadis, primary schools and health centres fail to meet the needs of the children, mining has aggravated the situation of children by creating ill-health, malnutrition, displacement, poverty and child labour. Every mining area in every state visited provided the harsh ground realities—India is reeling under child malnourishment in every mine site visited. Lack of food security is a major concern in these regions as mine labour is erratic, sometimes with high wages and sometimes none at all, but most of all, the working life of a mine worker is short-lived with their remaining life being spent in suffering from various occupational illnesses.

Especially in regions like Jharkhand where adivasi communities led subsistence economies traditionally, with a fair amount of food security thanks to the wide variety of crops and forest produce that was at their disposal, the shift to a mining economy seems to have benefited only GDP figures but not the actual economic lives of the adivasis and their children. Unless the Ministry of Mines imposes a strict cleanup by its public sector companies in the existing mines, with clean-up starting from responsibility to the basic needs of the children, mining can never translate into any real socially sustainable development framework.

Table 2.13: Village-wise data for Badkagaon block, Hazaribagh

Block / Village / Total enrolment / SC / ST / OBC / Others

Badkagoan / Bhurkhundwah / Data not available / -- / -- / -- / --

Badkagoan / Jarjara / 306 / 7 / 270 / 29 / 46

Badkagoan / Potanga / 362 / 35 / 302 / 25 / 0

Badkagoan / Badhkagaon / 3,936 / 618 / 169 / 3,043 / 848

Others=Repeaters, CWSN and Muslim

Note: Discrepencies in totals exist but the data is as given in the DISE report card

Source: DISE report card, September 2008

It is common knowledge that mining is not sustainable for the communities or the environment, but when the state policies are geared towards exploiting these resources for meeting the nation’s energy requirements, the least that the state is duty-bound to take care of, is to reduce the negative impacts and destruction of the lives of the people living here. Children should be the first priority for this instead of disputing their suffering. Here again, the state has to demonstrate its respect for the laws of the Constitution laid down for the protection of the Scheduled Areas, whether it is the Fifth Schedule laws, the 73 Amendment/Panchayat Raj (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or the Environment Protection Act of 1986. All these Acts and agreements are universally being violated by the state. Every mining project in our adivasi areas is an example of this violation.

(Acknowledgements: "is case study was done in partnership with Swaraj Foundation, Hazaribagh which is working for the rights of adivasis and displaced communities in this region. We acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Arun Anand and his staff in coordinating the field visits for the data collection and field interviews.)

Uranium Corporation of India Limited: Wasting Away Tribal Lands
by Moushumi Basu, Special to CorpWatch

“I have had three miscarriages and lost five children within a week of their births,” says Hira Hansda, a miner’s wife. “Even after 20 years of marriage we have no children today.” Now in her late forties, she sits outside her mud hut in Jadugoda Township, site of one of the oldest uranium mines in India.

The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) operates that mine, part of a cluster of four underground and one open cast mines and two processing plants, in East Singbhum district in the Eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. The deepest plunges almost one kilometer into the earth.

Radiation and health experts across the world charge that toxic materials and radioactivity released by the mining and processing operations are causing widespread infertility, birth defects and cancers. A 2008 health survey by the Indian chapter of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), found that “primary sterility was found to be more common in the people residing near uranium mining operations area.”

Jadugoda residents Kaderam Tudu and his wife, Munia, considered themselves fortunate when their infant was born alive, until, “I found that my baby son did not have his right ear and instead in its place was a blob of flesh,” says Tudu, a day worker in his late thirties. Their son, Shyam Tudu, now eight, has a severe hearing impairment.

Even children who appear healthy are impacted. “The youths from our villages have become victims of social ostracism,” says Parvati Manjhi, and cannot find spouses. “And a number of our girls have been abandoned by their husbands, when they failed to give birth,” Now middleaged, Parvati and her husband, Dhuwa Manjhi, who used to work for UCIL, are childless. view/2360/59/

Child labour used in cosmetics industry
The Sunday Times, July 19, 2009
Nicci Smith

Deep in the jungle of Jharkhand state in eastern India, at the end of a rutted track passable only by motorbike, a six-year-old girl named Sonia sat in the scorching midday sun, sifting jagged stones in an open-cast mine in the hope of earning enough money for a meal.

Sonia was halfway through her working day and she was already exhausted and dishevelled. Her hair was matted and her pretty flower-patterned dress spoilt by dust.

She barely had enough energy to glance at her eightyear- old cousin Guri, toiling intently beside her as they searched the stones for pieces of mica, a shiny material whose many uses include putting the sparkle into makeup.

If the girls spotted enough mica, they might earn 63p each for a 12-hour day. If they found none, they would probably go hungry. ... _americas/ article6719151.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

Tribals make poor progress, stay at bottom of heap
New Delhi, January 16, 2010 :

The first ever UN State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Report (2010) finds that indigenous people across the world suffer disproportionately high levels of poverty, illiteracy, poor health and human rights abuse. The poverty levels of India’s tribals have remained persistent over time and are lower than those of Scheduled Castes, on a par with those of sub-Saharan countries, says the report” “Indigenous children face obstacles in their access to education and the teaching in schools is often irrelevant to their culture, while traditional knowledge is not respected by educators. Large dams and other big infrastructure projects have displaced indigenous peoples across the world without adequate compensation, the report notes, citing the example of the displacement of tribals in Manipur by the building of hydroelectric dams and of Santhal adivasis in Jharkhand by mining companies. ... 450938.cms
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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

Postby admin » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:16 am

Part 1 of 4


State Overview

Orissa has a population of 36,706,920 [221] and the state’s total GDP was Rs. 1,033 billion in 2007-08. In terms of the number of people living in poverty, it is the poorest state in India. Currently, almost half or 46.4 per cent of its population are classed as living below the poverty line.222 With 85 per cent of the population inhabiting rural areas, the vast majority of the people living in poverty, 15 million, can be found in the rural parts of the state. Orissa has not been a focus of investment by the central government, causing its infrastructure and development indicators to lag behind the rest of the country. In rural areas, less than 35 per cent of the population has access to safe drinking water.

With its abundant natural resources and a large coastline, the state has recently started to attract vast amounts of private investment, particularly in steel mills, power plants and alumina refineries. The state contains a fifth of India’s coal, a quarter of its iron ore, a third of its bauxite reserves and most of its chromite.223 The central government has agreed to accord SEZ status to eight sites in Orissa. However, these plans are facing strong resistance from the local population, who mainly depend on agriculture for their livelihood and who are experiencing widespread displacement. Agriculture continues to constitute the major contribution to the state’s economy and forms the chief occupation in Orissa, with around 76 per cent of the total working population engaged in agriculture.

Forest and agricultural land threatened by mining in Kasipur (Photo October 2009)

Orissa is one of the largest producers of rice in India, growing almost 10 per cent of the total rice produced. The state also produces pulses, coconuts, sugarcane, tea, rubber, cotton, potatoes and numerous other crops. Orissa has fertile soils, but shortage of water in many areas. Lack of irrigation facilities in drought prone areas currently creates a serious obstacle for many people working in agriculture. There is a serious disparity between the investment in agriculture and the investment in industry in the state as priority is being given to the development of industries. Large-scale displacement of rural and adivasi populations in the state is having a serious impact on agriculture and livelihoods, pushing the already struggling population further into poverty. Orissa has one of the largest concentrations of STs in the country. Over one-fifth of the population or 22.13 per cent are STs and 16.53 per cent are SCs. This is substantially higher than the Indian average—only 8.2 per cent of the total population of India constitute STs. There are 62 different adivasi groups living in Orissa and some are exclusive to the state. The vast majority of them live in forest areas and are engaged in subsistence farming and forestry. It is the adivasi population which is bearing the brunt of the drive for industrial development, particularly mining. With the erosion of customary rights and access to forest resources, their food security has been adversely affected. This is leading to increased migration, loss of traditional occupations and dismantling of social institutions and culture.224

Displacement figures from various sources give an idea of the extent of the problem. Moreover different sources give different figures. Up to the year 2000 the total number of displaced families is given as 133,500.225 More recent figures give the total number of affected villages as 2,170 from several displacement projects including mining.226 Another source quotes those affected by development projects in the state in the last decade to be 2 million of which half a million were physically displaced. Statistical figures indicate that dams/irrigation projects have contributed to 70 per cent of displacement, industrial projects 12 per cent, mining 3.37 per cent, and wildlife sanctuaries, thermal and urban development projects the remaining. On the whole over 1.4 million people, mainly adivasis, have been displaced by developmental projects in Orissa alone.227

Orissa has a HDI ranking of 0.579, which is lower than the national average.228 Within Orissa, there are wide variations amongst districts in terms of human development indicators. The districts with the lowest HDI rankings are located in the south and southwest part of the state, where there are the highest concentrations of adivasis. The incidence of poverty among the SC and ST populations in these parts of the state is extremely high. The literacy status amongst the SC and ST population is also very worrying. While 63.09 per cent of the overall population in the state is literate, only 40.33 per cent of SC women are literate, and only 23.37 per cent of ST women are literate (the average for STs is 37.37 per cent).229 This in itself speaks volumes in terms of access to education and opportunities to participate in the state’s newfound industrial ‘success’.

The situation in terms of health is also a major concern in the state. Although life expectancy in the state is close to the national average (58.9 years), there are wide rural and urban disparities, with the rural life expectancy being 58.3 years, compared to 66 years in the urban areas. It is estimated that nearly half or 48 per cent of women in Orissa suffer from nutritional deficiency. The numbers are much higher in terms of illiterate women (54.6 per cent) and ST women (55.5 per cent).230 Malaria is a serious problem in Orissa, with the state contributing to 23 per cent of malaria cases and 50 per cent of malarial deaths in the country.231 The illness is particularly endemic amongst the ST population in districts such as Koraput located in the south of the state.

Malnourished mother with malnourished child-mining affected in Damanjodi (Photo January 2010)

Status of Children

The number of children in Orissa (age group 0–14 years) in 2001 was 12,207,872 and 19 years and under was 15,739,256, meaning that children comprise around 40 per cent of the state’s total population.232 Around 86 per cent of these children live in rural areas. The official number of out-of-school children aged between 6 and 14 years in the state was 350,703 (class I–V) in 2007.233 According to Pratham’s ASER 2008 survey, 7.2 per cent of children aged between 6 and 14 years are out of school in Orissa.234 Although there has been improvements in terms of enrolments in the state, the number of drop outs in Orissa is still very high, indicating that there are serious problems in terms of the efficiency of the education system. The rate of drop-out is 34.7 per cent at the primary level and 59 per cent at the upper primary level.235 This rate of drop-out is higher amongst girls, SCs and STs.

Table 2.14: ST children drop-out in Keonjhor, Sundergarh and Rayagada districts

Lack of access to schooling is still a significant problem in the adivasi areas—the majority of habitations without a school are those with a predominantly ST population.236 Table 2.14 provides information on ST literacy, drop-out and out-of-school numbers for districts in Orissa that were a part of the study sites.

According to the Census, there are 377,594 child labourers in the state (14 years and under).237 Official statistics show that in 1999, there were 23,761 children employed in hazardous occupations in the state, revealing that 21.4 per cent of all children in hazardous occupations in India can be found in Orissa.238 This is likely to be much lower than the actual figure particularly as the list of hazardous occupations has been expanded significantly since 1999. The NCLP is currently operating in 18 out of Orissa’s 30 districts. In 2006-07, 1,781 children were rehabilitated through the scheme and up to May 2007, a total of 72,653 children had been rescued from work and enrolled in the NCLP schools.239

The state continues to face many challenges in terms of child health. According to the most recent NFHS-3, published in 2007, 44 per cent of children under 3 years are underweight in Orissa.240 The extent of anaemia among children aged 6–35 months is also very high and around 72.3 per cent of children were found to have some degree of anaemia. The IMR and under five mortality rate are also significantly higher than the national average—respectively 64.7 (per 1,000 births) and 90.6, as compared to 57 and 74.3.241 These figures are attributed to several factors, including the poor professional attendance at birth, the high percentage of low birth rate babies and the lack of professional post-natal care in the state. For deaths of children under five years of age, diarrhoea accounts for 28 per cent, which can be linked to lack of access to safe drinking water, adequate nutrition and essential life-saving medicines, such as oral rehydration salts.242 Again, the infant and child mortality rates are found to be higher amongst the adivasis. Immunisation coverage is also poorest in the case of the adivasis as compared to the total population.

The ICDS, the only national scheme to address the health and nutrition needs of children under 6 years, has made significant progress in Orissa. The NFHS-3 found that Orissa was one of only three states where more than 50 per cent of children aged 0–71 months had received any service in the previous year from an anganwadi centre.243 Orissa also has the highest percentage (43 per cent) of children receiving health checkups from an anganwadi centre. However, serious challenges remain for the state. There have been several shortcomings with the scheme in Orissa, including an irregular food supply in a number of areas. In 2007, it was revealed that although Orissa has the second highest (after Madhya Pradesh) number of women and children benefitting from the scheme, spending per beneficiary per day is lowest in Orissa, at only Rs. 0.59. [244]

A number of factors have led to Orissa becoming vulnerable to trafficking problems. High levels of poverty, frequent natural disasters, chronic food insecurity and a large marginalised population have created the conditions which place people at risk of various forms of exploitation, such as trafficking. SCs, STs, landless labourers, women and children face particular risks in these situations.245 The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data proves inadequate at analysing the trafficking situation in India, as most cases go unregistered and unreported. In 2007, there were only 41 cases registered under human trafficking in the state.246 However, NGOs working in Orissa have reported a significant child trafficking problem in the state.247 At least 26 out of the 30 districts are considered to be affected by trafficking. It is also often difficult to differentiate between trafficking and wilful migration, as there are a considerable number of children migrating, with or without their families, in search of work.248 Girls are taken from Orissa to other states, such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, for coerced marriages. Women and girls are also trafficked for domestic work and other forms of labour, as well as prostitution.249

Early marriage continues to be a problem in the state. In Orissa, almost 30 per cent of girls get married before 18 years of age and there is a high degree of inter-state variation. In the backward districts, such as Koraput, Kalahandi and Balangir, more than 50 per cent of girls are married before the age of 18.250 However, in the coastal districts, such as Puri and Jajpur, less than 15 per cent of girls are married before the age of 18.

Mining in Orissa

Iron ore being loaded in Joda-Barbil area, Keonjhar (Photo July 2009)

Orissa is very rich in minerals, and is currently the leading producer of chromite, graphite, bauxite, manganese ore, iron ore, sillimanite, quartzite, pyroxite and dolomite in India.

In terms of value, Orissa’s mineral production is the second highest in the country, accounting for 12 per cent of the country’s production. In 2007-08, Orissa’s mineral production was valued at Rs. 129.87 billion, a huge increase of 29 per cent from the previous year.251 The most important minerals in the state are coal, bauxite, chromite, iron ore, manganese ore, limestone and dolomite. Together they constitute 99.2 per cent of the state’s total mineral production.

In 2007-08, there were 227 reporting mines in the state. The total mine lease area covers 721,323 ha of land. This includes over 16,795 ha of forestland which has been officially diverted for mining.252

NALCO conveyor belt (Photo by Samata)

The major source of bauxite in Orissa is found in Koraput district, which produces 98.82 per cent of the state’s total bauxite production. The remaining 1.18 per cent of bauxite is found in Sundergarh district.253 Fifty per cent of the state’s adivasis lives in these two districts. Damanjodi is a small town in Koraput district. The vast majority of the population of Damanjodi are employees of the National Aluminium Company (NALCO), a public sector enterprise of the Government of India, which is the world’s seventh largest producer of aluminium. NALCO operates Asia’s largest aluminium complex, which comprises bauxite mines, alumina refining operations, smelting plants and power generation. The NALCO mines have bauxite reserves expected to last for 120 years. Despite this, Koraput is still classified as a ‘backward district’ by the government and 83.8 per cent of the population here live below the poverty line.254

With the inception of the New Economic Policy, the Government of Orissa has begun inviting both national and multinational companies to extract mineral resources in the state. The number of companies who have signed Memorandum of Understandings to set up steel plants in the state has increased to 50, including the South Korean multinational Pohan Iron and Steel Company (POSCO), which has agreed to construct a Rs. 580 billion steel plant near Paradip port. This will be the largest FDI in India’s history.255 However, the local population in these areas, who are mostly SCs and STs, are resisting these projects, fearing displacement and a loss of livelihoods.256 Orissa is an example of how every possible corporate crime and human rights violation happen when mining is involved and how a state’s doom is led by the havoc created by such large-scale mining.

The region of Lanjigarh, in Kalahandi district, has come under severe pressure from mining development in recent years and is now the site of one of India’s most high profile mining struggles. In 2003, an agreement was signed between the Government of Orissa and the British Vedanta Group to establish a bauxite mine and alumina refinery in the Niyamgiri hills. However, the project has come under intense scrutiny and opposition from local communities, NGOs and environmental activists. Lanjigarh is the home of the Dongria Kondh tribe, with a population of 7,752. The community is objecting to the refinery project, which will displace them from their indigenous habitat and destroy their traditional forms of livelihood.

That the government has entertained mining in Lanjigarh even while the existing adivasi struggles in neighbouring Kasipur of Koraput districts where the Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL) project has been facing fierce opposition on similar grounds and was also witness to police firing and death of adivasis speaks of the brutal disregard to people’s voices of dissent.

Displacement for mining activities is a major problem in Orissa. There are no up-to-date figures to reveal the number of people who have been displaced in the state for mining. However, between 1951 and 1995, around 100,000 people were displaced for mining projects in Orissa, 40 per cent of whom received no form of rehabilitation.257 More recent displacement figures from different sources give an idea of the extent of displacement from mining. Up to the year 2000 the total number of displaced families as a result of mining is estimated at 15,000 or 11 per cent of total population displaced.258 Another source quotes those affected by development projects in the state in the last decade to be 2 million of which half a million were physically displaced. Of this 3.37 per cent were as a result of mining.259

Nearly half the state’s area is under the Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Despite this, around 1,019 sq km of land has already been leased out for mining, most of which is in Scheduled Areas.260 In July 2003, a state committee headed by the Chief Minister of Orissa concluded that the Samatha Judgment, delivered to protect the rights of adivasis to their lands in all the Fifth Schedule areas across the country, is applicable only to Andhra Pradesh and does not apply to Orissa.

The draft Orissa Resettlement and Rehabilitation Plan 2006 proposes to make displaced people stakeholders in the industry that displaces them. Although the compensation has increased from Rs. 37,000 per acre to Rs. 150,000 per acre, it does not provide them with an alternative employment guarantee.261 It also states that it will provide employment, self-employment training and provision of homestead land only to displaced families. However, the draft does not make any mention of those families who are landless. Large sections of the population, do not own land, but instead make their living by working on other people’s land.

Some of the adivasis have now moved into mining work in order to secure a living through wage labour. They have been forced into this work due to the decrease in available land. Women are particularly affected by these changes. Adivasi women are usually the primary actors in agriculture, responsible for collecting forest produce and for livestock management. However, once displaced, they can no longer continue their traditional activities. Studies in Orissa have shown that the number of unwed mothers has increased in recent years, as have cases of trafficking, HIV/AIDS and domestic violence.262

According to the Census 2001, there were 149,318 people working in mining and quarrying in Orissa in 2001. Of these, 2,257 were children 14 years and under, and 11,203 were children 19 years and under.263 However, the actual number of child labourers working in mining and quarrying in the state is likely to be much higher than this.

Koraput district: Key facts

Total population: 1,180,637 (Census 2001)
Population (0–14 years): 423,358 (Census 2001)
Literacy rate: Total 35.72 per cent; Male 47.20 per cent; Female 24.26 per cent (Census 2001)
Percentage of out-of-school children (6–14 years): 17 per cent (ASER 2008)
Percentage of children enrolled in AWC or pre-school (3–4 years): 43.1 per cent (ASER 2008)
Number of child labour (5–14 years): 24,010 (Census 2001)
Under five mortality rate (ranking): 540 out of 593 districts surveyed (Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh)

Rayagada district: Key facts

Total population: 831,109 (Census 2001)
Population (0–14 years): 303,760 (Census 2001)
Literacy rate: Total 36.15 per cent; Male 48.18 per cent; Female 24.56 per cent (Census 2001)
Percentage of out-of-school children (6–14 years): 17.7 per cent (ASER 2008)
Percentage of children enrolled in AWC or pre-school (3–4 years): 51.7 per cent (ASER 2008)
Number of child labour: 16,982 (Census 2001)
Under five mortality rate (ranking): 565 out of 593 districts surveyed (Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh)

Keonjhar district: Key facts

Total population: 1,561,990 (Census 2001)
Population (0–14 years): 548,357 (Census 2001)
Literacy rate: Total 59.24 per cent; Male 71.99 per cent; Female 46.22 per cent (Census 2001)
Percentage of out-of-school children (6–14 years): 7.7 per cent (ASER 2008)
Percentage of children enrolled in AWC or pre-school (3–4 years): 68.1 per cent (ASER 2008)
Number of child labour: 12,741 (Census 2001)
Under five mortality rate (ranking): 455 out of 593 districts surveyed (Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh)

Sundergarh district: Key facts

Total population: 1,830,673 (Census 2001)
Population (0–14 years): 699,304 (Census 2001)
Literacy rate: 65 per cent; Male 75.34 per cent; Female 53.88 per cent (Census 2001)
Percentage of out-of-school children (6–14 years): 4.8 (ASER 2008)
Percentage of children enrolled in AWC or pre-school (3–4 years): no data available (ASER 2008)
Number of child labour (5 – 14 years): 9,407 (Census 2001)
Under five mortality rate (ranking): 372 out of 593 districts surveyed (Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh)

Background to the Research

As Orissa is one of the most intensively mined states in India, we chose multiple sites in Orissa for our research in order to understand the impacts of mining on children. This is also a state that has seriously impacted the lives of adivasi communities who have been displaced multiple times for mining and related industries and now once again face the threat of displacement from new projects. We covered some of the earliest projects like NALCO (bauxite mining) where the impacts are visibly evident with respect to the displaced communities, to juxtapose this against the proposed mining areas like Kasipur (UAIL project) which is very close to NALCO and has the same socio-economic background. These case studies bring out issues related to displacement, rehabilitation and the constitutional rights of adivasi children when faced with a complete reversal of their resource base and indigenous cultures.

The peaceful adivasi belt of Keonjhar, which was once the pride of Orissa tourism, has now gained notoriety as the hotbed of crime, corruption, violence and smuggling after large corporations and contractors started plundering the areas like Joda and Barbil for minerals. We studied the impacts that this transition has had on the children living in this region, which can be compared to the situation of mining in Bellary, Karnataka.

Sundergarh in western Orissa is also an adivasi area where mining of dolomite and limestone has been happening since pre-independence and impacts are again clearly measurable, especially with a large number of adolescent girls working in the mines for ridiculously low wages.

The status of mining in Orissa alone and the impacts on people, particularly children, can be taken as an indicator for the status of mining-affected communities in the rest of the country. Orissa is also one of the poorest states in India with low human development indices especially in the regions where mining has been taking place. If mining, as projected, is a vehicle of economic development, what we saw in Orissa is far from reflected in the lives of people living and working in the mines. The general development pattern in the state and the case studies here speak for themselves.

Impacts of Displacement on Children in Damanjodi by the National Aluminium Company Limited’s Bauxite Mining Project

Rajesh (name changed) is 15 years old and comes from the village of Janiguda. He works in a roadside restaurant at Dumuriput of Damanjodi. His family lost all their land for the NALCO project and converted his father, who did not get a job in the company, into an alcoholic. Having spent all the compensation money on liquor, the father has left the family on the streets. Rajesh dropped out of school and had to come to Damanjodi town in search of work to support his family. He earns around Rs.1,200 per month while working in the hotel and sends home around Rs.1,000 every month. He says,”Work in the hotel is difficult and there is no time for rest except after 12 in the night every day”.

Source: Interview carried out in Dumuriput, Damanjodi, February 2010.

Koraput is one of the poorest districts in Orissa and is a Scheduled Area having 50 per cent ST (585,830 out of 1,180,637) and 13 per cent SC (153,932 out of 1,180,637) population. Undivided Koraput was a vast region of thick deciduous forests and fertile agricultural lands with traditional food crops and shifting cultivation practised by the adivasis. The adivasis cultivated two crops a year on rain-fed irrigation with the fundamental objective of subsistence and food security. Forestry and collection of forest produce to sell in the local markets was the other main source of livelihood. After independence, Koraput and its neighbouring districts bear testimony to several development projects and industrialisation that led to land alienation, forced migration and serious impacts on the natural resources and livelihoods of the local people, particularly the adivasis. Hydro projects like Upper Indravati, Balimela, Kolab, Jolaput reservoirs drove out thousands of families from their villages and homes, not once but multiple times. Setting up of the HAL factory, NALCO and other ancillary industries further reduced the local population to landlessness and poverty.

The bauxite mining project and its township completely changed the socio-economic fabric of the adivasis. The meetings with village leaders, Project Affected Person (PAP) unions and group discussions with women in the displacement (DP) camps and affected villages reflect the deplorable status of the local people and the condition of the children whose families were directly or indirectly affected, behind the apparent urbanisation witnessed around Damanjodi town. Our effort here was to understand the impacts that mining has had on the lives of children whose families were displaced by NALCO and those living in this mining region and how it has affected their health, literacy, education, social protection, economic security and legal rights.

Prior to mining, the region had vast natural resources on which the adivasis depended for their survival. Development intervention from the government whether for education, medical support or economic upliftment, was negligible and the adivasis barely received any benefits. Mining was declared as the need of the hour for the nation as well as for the local population and it was meant to bring economic prosperity for both and therefore, the NALCO bauxite project was opened up in Damanjodi, Orissa. This case study looks at the ground realities in the context of children in the region, which may differ from the popular understanding of mining and development.

Overview of National Aluminum Company Limited

NALCO, one of the first public sector mining companies in India, was established in the year 1981 with the purpose of extracting bauxite ore from the vast reserves in the Panchpatmali hills of Koraput district and processing it into alumina. The total deposit of ore being extracted by NALCO is 112.8 million tonnes and the refinery complex in Damanjodi, which is 11 km away from the mine site, has an installed capacity of 8 lakh million tonnes of alumina annually. The total land area occupied by the company is 10,058.76 acres, of which 427.3 acres is for mining, 2638.96 acres is for the township and 6,992.5 acres is for the plant area. Out of the total land 2,805.49 acres is government land and 2,834.56 ha, which is around 41.36 per cent of the total land area, belongs to local farmers.264 NALCO has a captive power plant with a capacity of 55.5 mw as against its actual need of 32 mw.

Displacement and Compensation/ Rehabilitation

From the primary data collected through interviews with PAPs, it was gathered that 26 villages of Koraput, Potangi, Semiliguda and Laxmipur blocks were directly and indirectly affected with 597 families directly displaced, both in terms of land and housing. This action research was conducted in the villages of Amalabadi, Champapadar, Damanjodi, Goudaguda, Janiguda, Marichimala and Putsil, which are apparently some of the most affected by the project. Out of the total project affected population, 254 households or families are from the adivasi communities, 56 families are from dalit communities and the rest of the families are OBCs like the Malis and Sundis. According to the statements made by displaced people the recent update of displaced families for NALCO, is 631 families.

As per the initial resettlement made by NALCO, 597 families were taken as displaced families. Out of these, 441 were rehabilitated in Amalabadi DP camp, which was meant to provide resettlement for 13 villages affected by the project. This was later increased to 156. A second DP camp at Champapadar was initiated for 75 households for the displaced from Khoraguda (a village affected but not visited by our study team) and Champapadar villages.265 At present there are more than 200 families who are living in the Champapadar DP camp. The housing provided by NALCO consists of 10x10 ft structures. As rehabilitation was never properly completed, the PAPs invested their own money in building their houses or supplementing the inadequate housing provided by the company. The DP camp of Champapadar is situated far away from the township of the company while that of Amalabadi is closer. The two DP camps were provided with basic drinking water facilities. Some villages have tube wells and taps but most of them also depend on the stream and river water for their domestic purposes. A huge protest and rally taken out by the employees of affected families last year to demand for inclusion of women headed households in the rehabilitation programme, reflects the neglect of single women and widows among the PAPs. The company does not provide any medical facilities for the affected families and basic services like drinking water, electricity and education are either not provided or marginally provided by the company.

Most of the villages affected had lost fertile agricultural land. Damanjodi had the highest number of displaced families (around 170) where private agricultural land was also alienated. The people reported that they received a compensation of Rs.3,000 per acre for paddy land and Rs.1,100 per acre for dry land. In Putsil it was found that the average compensation received per family was Rs.1,300 per acre. In Marchimala, 50 households lost their land but not their houses. These families did not receive any alternate land. They were only given a monetary compensation, which averaged around Rs. 1,500 per acre. Only one person who lost his land and house was given a job with the company. In Janiguda village more than 240 acres of land was taken by the company but people who had lost their land were not given any alternate livelihood. Only cash compensation averaging Rs. 1,500 per acre was given. Since the villagers only lost land and not their homes the company did not provide any jobs. The 75 families displaced from Champapadar received an average compensation of Rs. 1,500 per acre.266

Displaced camp, Damanjodi (Photo June 2009)

Compensation for land was given only to farmers who had pattas (title deeds), so some of the adivasi and dalit families who did not possess pattas did not receive any compensation and also lost their livelihood. The PAPs also reported that most of the families are now working as landless labourers either in agriculture, animal rearing or as daily wage labourers for construction and other industrial activities. The literacy rates in all these affected villages vary between 10–30 per cent with the exception of Damanjodi, which has a 60–70 per cent rate due to outsiders settling here.

Employment at the company was given at the most, to one person per family where the eldest son got a job and the others had to become landless labourers. Jobs were given only if both land and house were taken away. The nature of jobs given to the displaced persons, involved mainly semiskilled and unskilled work such as drivers, operators, office attendants and manual labour. The people reported that in the 25 years of the company’s existence, only seven out of all the displaced people were promoted from unskilled to semiskilled level. Of the displaced who got jobs, 108 persons are dead and more than 20 have retired, but none of their family members were given jobs after them. So far only 20 women from the displaced communities are working in the company according to the PAPs. In Champapadar DP camp 59 persons of the 75 displaced families, got jobs of which only seven are from SC community and rest are OBCs. In Amalabadi DP camp there are more than 400 families but only 200 managed to get jobs in the company. NALCO acquired 240 acres of agricultural land from the community in Janiguda village but none of the families were given any jobs. They merely received meagre cash compensation in 1981. In Marichimala, of the more than 50 affected households, only one person who lost both land and house was given a job with the company, while in Putsil 18 families, who lost both land and house, were given a job.

Table 2.15: Population of affected villages
Sl. No. / Village name / Families affected / Total Amount of land lost / No. of families displaced / Compensation received / No. of jobs from NALCO

1 / Amalabadi / -- / -- / -- / -- / 200
2 / Champapadar / 75 / Data not available / 75 / Average Rs.1,500 per acre / 59  
3 / Damanjodi / 170 / Data not available / 170 / Average Rs.1,500 per acre / 170
4 / Gouduguda / -- / -- / -- -- / --
5 / Janiguda / 129 households / 240 acres / No displacement / Average Rs.1,500 per acre / 0
6 / Marichimala / More than 50 / Data not available / 1 / Rs. 1,550 per acre / 1
7 / Putsil / Above 20 / Data not available / 18 / Around Rs. 1,300 per acre / 18
Note: 1. Amalabadi is where the new DP camp was set up. 2. Gouduguda is a village located next to the bauxite mining. While no land or house has been lost the residents here are indirectly affected as a result of mining
Source: PAP unions and village elders (figures are approximate based on people’s statements)

Table 2.15 gives data collected in some of the affected villages visited by the study team regarding families affected, compensation provided and jobs in the company.
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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

Postby admin » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:20 am

Part 2 of 4

Education Status of Children Living in the Mining-affected Villages

There are two schools maintained by NALCO—Delhi Public School which is an English medium school and the second is the Saraswathi Vidya Mandir which is an Oriya medium school. It was seen that the educational institutions set up by the company are mainly for children of employees and management staff and not for the local communities. Hence, almost none of the adivasi and dalit children of the displaced families or surrounding villages attend the company run schools except for the children of employees living here. For one, the schools are located close to the township where the employees live, whereas the affected adivasi and dalit communities and the DP camps are located far away from these institutions and have very unreliable transport facilities. The people also reported that they do not like to send their children to the NALCO run school as the children cannot cope with the curriculum and many of them drop out in high school. Besides, the social barriers between adivasi and dalit children and those of employees and management level staff of NALCO are another cause for the displaced community children not attending these schools. Most of them attend the government primary and upper primary schools, which have poor infrastructure and quality of teaching.

School drop-out rates are seen to be alarming in the area. Table 2.16 is indicative of the high drop-out rates among children in the affected villages. This is also indicative of the number of children who are involved in child labour. Table 2.17 gives the official DISE data as a comparison for some of the affected villages.

In the Janiguda village school, there are two regular teachers and one para-teacher but out of them, only the headmaster is regular to the school, as reported by the villagers. The school building is in very poor condition and has minimal infrastructure facilities for students. The headmaster stated that the school drop-out rates are increasing and this is an issue of concern as children are taken for agricultural labour or for grazing cattle. At least 50–60 children from Goudaguda village were reported to have dropped out from school and 20– 30 children were irregular. At Janiguda the villagers reported that more than 150 children had dropped out of school.

There is one primary school, which barely functions regularly, in Champapadar village. For a colony of its size, there are only 3–4 college level students and 4–5 youth with a diploma.

Table 2.16: Some data on children of affected families in Koraput district
District / Block / Village / Total number of children / Total no. of school going children / No of child labourers / No of school drop-outs

Koraput / Damanjodi / Amalabadi / 800–900 / 250–300 / 150 / 20 last year
Koraput / Koraput / Champapadar / 300 / 60–70 / 50–70 / Data not available
Koraput / Damanjodi / Damanjodi / 3,000-3,500 / Around 2,500 / 500–600 / Data not available
Koraput / Kakiriguma / Goudaguda / 650–700 / 222 / 60 / 15–20 last year
Koraput / Damanjodi / Janiguda / Around 250 / 30–35 / Around 150 / More than 150
Source: Local community leaders (figures are approximate based on people’s statements)

Table 2.17: School enrolment data
District / Sub-district / Village / Total enrolment / SC / ST / OBC / Others

Koraput / Damanjodi / Amalabadi / 44 / 9 / 24 / 0 / 0  
Koraput /Koraput / Champapadar / 28 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0
Koraput /Kakiriguma / Goudaguda / 176 / 14 / 59 / 0 / 0
Others=Repeaters, CWSN and Muslim
Note: Discrepencies in totals exist but the data is as given in the DISE report card
Source: DISE report card, September 2008

Table 2.18: Educational institutions in the area
Name of the village / No of primary schools / No of high schools / No of colleges

Amalabadi / 1 / 0 / 0
Champapadar / 1 / 0 / 0
Damanjodi / 6 / 2 / 1
Goudaguda / 1/ 0 / 0
Janiguda / 1 / 0/ 0
Marchimala / 1 / 0 / 0
Source: Local community leaders (figures are approximate based on people’s statements)

In Janiguda village, there is one primary cum upper primary school but they do not function properly. Table 2.18 gives an indication of educational institutions.

Status of Children in Anganwadis and Malnourishment

At Paraja street anganwadi, which was one of the three anganwadi centres in Goudaguda, it was reported by the worker that of the 51 children enrolled, 10 children within the age group of 0–5 year are within normal range, whereas 11 children suffer from grade III malnutrition, 12 children from grade II and, the rest of the children are in the category of absolute malnutrition. Here it was also reported that, at the time of the study, the total number of neonatal delivery cases at the centre were three and total number of pregnant women were three. Very few children attend the anganwadi regularly as facilities are almost negligent. Except for occasional health camps by NALCO, there are no medical facilities. The anganwadi worker reported that there were cases of TB but could not give the exact number. Table 2.19 gives the enrolment in the anganwadi centre at Paraja street. There is an anganwadi centre in Janiguda but the worker lives in another village and visits the children occasionally. Champapadar village has one anganwadi centre which does not function on a regular basis.

Table 2.19: Enrolment at anganwadi centre, Paraja street, Goudaguda
Name / Total / ST / SC
-- / Boy / Girl / Boy / Girl / Boy / Girl

Paraja street / 25 / 26 / 19 / 23 / 6 / 3
Source: Anganwadi centre, Goudaguda, Paraja Street

Child Labour

Child labour is a clear indication of the social and economic status of a community, coupled with the inaccessibility to basic education, the reduced livelihood opportunities and landlessness due to the mining project. All these factors have resulted in more children dropping out of school to supplement their family incomes. Also, the township’s demand for domestic labour has increased the female girl child’s absorption into menial labour as house-maids and domestic help. The youth who were interviewed stated that as they do not qualify for the matriculation examination due to their poor school education, and very few are able to reach college level education, they end up as cleaners and drivers of trucks, ply autos and buses for private contractors or are hired in petty shops and businesses.

There is a high incidence of child labour around the NALCO area although there is no child labour within the company premises. In Mathalput region, close to Damnajodi NALCO township, there is a higher incidence of child labour as it is a settlement of migrant workers. According to the local villagers, there are 500-600 children working in various forms of child labour in Damanjodi. Of these, the majority of the children working are found in Mathalput slum, which is an extension of Damanjodi town. Both boys and girls of the DP camp of Amalabadi and Champapadar, work under contractors. In Champapadar around 30–40 male children below the age of 18 are working under contractors as daily wage labour and 20–30 female children are working as domestic labour or under contractors. In Amalabadi it was reported that around 150 are engaged in various daily wage activities in the mining township and its surrounding area.

Child labour outside NALCO township (Photo Samata)

As 131 families of the Amlabadi DP camp are headed by widows who have no source of income, most of the children of these families are working as manual labour in mining and associated activities. In Marichimala it was reported that 200 male and 100 female children, approximately, were working as child labourers. In Putsil, a handful of children are working in mining and related daily wage activities. In Goudaguda more than 50 children are engaged in wage labour. At Janiguda the villagers reported that the 150 children who had dropped out of school were involved in daily wage labour and agricultural activities.

Many of them were seen to be working in hotels, dhabas and petty shops and therefore, it can be estimated that around 500–1,000 children of the project affected areas are working as labourers in the region of Laxmipur, Kakiriguma, Damanjodi town, Koraput, Semiliguda and Potangi. Many youth are also reported to have migrated to the cities of Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and other cities for livelihood.

Health and Environment Concerns

Air and water pollution are reported to be high, by the local community. The most adversely affected villages are Kutundi, Karadiguda, Bhitarguda, Lachuani and Gouduguda.267 Water scarcity is one of the major problems faced by the people. Women and children have to walk long distances to collect water. People from these villages stated that due to mining activities, traditional water sources (natural springs) of the Panchpatmali hills have dried up and some of the perennial streams have reduced flow. Hence water for both domestic uses and agriculture has become inaccessible, particularly in summer. Contamination of the water bodies due to drainoff from mine tailings and unsafe sewage disposal due to expansion of the local and migrant population as a result of the mining project is another major problem identified by the people. Therefore water related diseases like diarrhoea and skin problems. Terminal illnesses like cancer were also reported by the community leaders and union members, although this has to be medically verified. Of the 18 employed in the NALCO mines from Putsil village, 10 persons have died and the villagers said that they had been suffering from cancer as understood by them from the reports of NALCO hospital.268 In Janiguda village 30–40 cases of TB were detected among daily wage labourers, during the study. The village also complained of contamination in their drinking water and how their health is affected due to this.

Government health infrastructure consisted of one SHC in Goudaguda and Amalabadi each, and one PHC at Damanjodi.

Social Disturbance and Sexual Harassment

Villagers have reported 10–15 cases of sexual harassment of the women from their community. Women walking to the mine sites for daily wage work have faced intimidation by migrant labour and truck drivers.269 Some of the single women and widows who have no other source of livelihood have been forced into the sex trade in the fringes of Damanjodi and Mathalput. Also there were at least 100–200 HIV/AIDs affected persons but it is difficult to give accurate estimates. Damanjodi has acquired the reputation of being the second Ganjam (a city in Koraput district with high incidence of HIV/AIDS) in terms of HIV cases. Considerable number of migrant workers come from Ganjam and coastal belt.270

The social environment of the DP camps has changed from a village community to a slum community with problems like alcoholism, domestic violence, theft and crime being common. Although basic amenities do not exist in DP camps, liquor is the most easily available commodity with liquor shops set up within the rehabilitated colonies. In Damanjodi it is no different, and the wages earned by men are directly drained out for alcohol, which is a cause for domestic violence, frequent brawls and physical abuse on women. The adivasi children who had no exposure to such social disturbances in the earlier times, have to now face a degenerate social order. This is both an intangible price and beyond the boundaries of compensation. This is a price that a nation is willing to pay for the economic returns, because, mention of such impacts is normally ridiculed as giving undue importance to insignificant and inevitable impacts vis-a-vis the economic image of an industrially advanced India.

Single woman—vulnerable and destitute, Damanjodi (Photo June 2009)


The rehabilitation of the community displaced by NALCO, even after three decades, remains incomplete. The fact that at the time of this study in 2009, the PAPs were organising strikes and agitations to demand for proper rehabilitation shows that the displaced families’ problems are yet to be addressed by the NALCO authorities. There has been no impact assessment report made public, if any was undertaken during this period, and no stocktaking of the rehabilitation process, or a review of the basic services provided were undertaken in consultation with the PAPs. Particularly, there has been no assessment of the impact on children, even when high incidence of child labour, school drop-out rate and malnourishment are visibly evident. The presence of a large section of single mothers, widows and destitute women in the displaced camps, where they are unable to provide basic survival for their children, is a direct impact of the mining project; yet no attention has been given to their plight. The new Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy of India provides for mere cash compensation with voluntary assurances that social responsibility will be demonstrated by the respective projects and governments.

(Acknowledgements: This case study was done with the assistance of NALCO Displaced and Land Losers’ Employee Association, who provided us with data, introduced us to the communities and helped in the field data collection.)

Dolomite and Limestone Quarries of Sundergarh

“My name is Anjana (name changed). I am 15 years old. I am working in a crushing unit here since the last 1 year as my family is very poor. For loading one basket of the ore into the vehicle the owner of the crusher gives us Rs. 0.25. I usually earn Rs.40–50 per day and with this I am helping my two younger siblings, a brother and sister, go to school. "e owner of the crusher provides us with sugarcane at weekly intervals so that I can work more. I have never been to school.”

Source: Interview carried out near to the Bramhanimara village, Sundergarh, November 2009

Sundergarh district has a long history of dolomite and limestone mining. Birmitrapur in Sundergarh district, where the case study was conducted, has seen mining since the early nineteenth century. The mining was undertaken by the British initially through the company Birds India Limited, which is today called Bisra Stone Lime Company Limited (BSL). The estimated reserves of limestone and dolomite are 375 million tonnes and 265 million tonnes respectively.

According to the Department of Mines, Orissa, Sundergarh district has a total of 87 working mines of which dolomite and limestone are 19 and dolomite alone is four. There are 268 applications for mining leases still pending with the department. There are also 49 sponge iron factories in the district. Each factory has 15–20 deep bore-wells whose depth is at least 800 ft from the ground level. Some of the sponge iron plants and mines had to be closed down due to non-compliance with pollution norms. It is a known fact, as expressed by the ex-Chairman of Birmitrapur Mr. Kishore Kujur, that there are as many illegal mines as legal mines in the region. The government is now inviting multinational corporations to establish large-scale industries of cement in Sundergarh.

NCLP school, Birmitrapur, Sundergarh (Photo November 2009)

The case study was conducted in the area of Birmitrapur municipality which is one of the most excessively mined areas in Sundergarh. The report has been gathered from visits made to dolomite and limestone mines in Kukhrajola, Chanabahar and Kansabahal villages and BSL mines in Mundatolli and Bramhanimara villages. The visit included Purna Panni dolomite and limestone quarries and village which is an abandoned mine site.

Sundergarh district, comprising of 17 blocks and 262 gram panchayats, has a predominant ST population. Of the total population of 1,830,673, the STs number 918,903. The major adivasi groups in Sundergarh are Kharia, Mankidi, Mankidia and Birhor who constitute 50.74 per cent of the population of the district. The district falls under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.

Status of children in Anganwadis

In Birmitrapur, the age group of 0–6 years is around 2,500 but very few of them have access to anganwadi. In Bramhanimara village both the anganwadi centre as well as the school functions under the same roof as there is no separate building for running of anganwadi centre. As it is one of the bigger villages in Birmitrapur municipality it has a sizeable number of children in the age group of 0–6 years. The total number of children of the village, Bramhanimara village, between 0–6 years is 91 with a break-up as given in Table 2.20.

Table 2.20: Details of children in Bramhanimara anganwadi
Category / Total / Boy / Girl

ST / 58 / 27 / 31
SC / 18 / 11 / 7
General / 15 / 8 / 7
Source: Anganwadi centre, Bramhanimara village

This year, there are 18 malnourished children in the centre, out of which 3–4 are under severe malnourishment category and the rest are under grade I, II, III and IV categories.

According to the anganwadi worker there are 3–4 cases of TB patients in the village this year, undergoing medical treatment. According to her, there are at least 8–9 registered cases of filaria. This is mainly because of the pollution of water as observed by her. The Child Development Project Officer of Birmitrapur ICDS project provided some revealing facts about the status of children in this municipality. According to their records there are 3,390 children below the age of 6 years and the Table 2.21 gives the status of children’s nutrition levels as per the records of September 2009 in Birmitrapur anganwadi. The Table shows that only 41 per cent of children are barely or just above malnourishment.

Table 2.21: Children’s health status: Birmitrapur anganwadi
Grade / Total children / Percentage to total children

Normal weight / 1,397 / 41
Grade I / 1,363 / 40
Grade II / 582 / 17
Grade III / 20 / 0.59
Grade IV 02 / 0.05
Source: ICDS office Birmitrapur

In Kansbahal village the anganwadi centre has no infrastructure and operates under a tree. The anganwadi worker stated that atleast 12 children are absolutely malnourished and around 50–100 cases of TB have been identified from the village.

In Chanabahar village according to the villagers, around 100 children (80 per cent of the total children) below the age of 6 years are malnourished. In short it was reported in almost all the villages that a majority of children are malnourished and a considerable number of children drop out of school. None of the villages reported that they receive development support for children either in the form of education, nutrition or medical facilities from the mining companies operating in the area.


The overall district literacy rate is 65 per cent but a look at the elementary education statistics shows an alarming drop in student rural enrolment from 82,016 at primary level to 7,425 at secondary education level. This reflects the poor access to higher education that adolescents in the district have, which further reflects the poor social and economic conditions of the majority population.

In this backdrop, we present here the situation of children living in Birmitrapur block which is one of the worst mining affected regions in Orissa. There are around 4,000–5,000 children below the age of 18 years living in Birmitrapur town of the municipality. In Birmitrapur there are 15 government schools, one college and three high schools. The dakua group (women’s SHG) of Birmitrapur which met the team at the anganwadi centre, stated that at least 20–25 children from each ward do not go to school and that every year at least 30 per cent of school-going children drop out of school.

No infrastructure for this anganwadi. Children and animals attending the anganwadi under the trees, Brahmanimara, Sundergarh (Photo November 2009)

According to the villagers and the local organisation Gangpur Adivasi Forum for Social and Cultural Awakening (GAFSCA), the poverty of most families, becomes a cause for many children not to attend school regularly and to drop-out after primary school. The women stated that another reason for children dropping out of school is the poor teaching and teacher absenteeism. In Mundatolli village, which is a small settlement of around 25 households, we found that there were atleast 55 children of school going age. As there is no government or private school in this village, none of the children have opportunity to go to school except for five boys and four girls who are in high school and walk to the Don Bosco school in the neighbouring village, every day.

Table 2.22: Enrolment in Bramhanimara primary school in 2009-10
Class / ST Boys / SC Girls / GENERAL Boys / General Girls

I–V / 7 / 2 / 3 / 8 / 3 / 2
Total / 9 / -- / 11 / -- / 5 / --
Source: Attendance register, Bramhanimara primary school, Bramhanimara

In Bramhanimara village there is only one teacher in the school with a total strength of 25 children Table 2.22). The DISE report card (September 2008) gives the enrolment for class I–V as around 219. According to the teacher there is no drop-out rate and there are only two children working in the mines. However, she admitted that most of the children go to the mine sites to help their parents and also, alternately, attend school. This category of semi-labour participation by children is one of the most invisible forms of child labour.

In Chanabahar village, the community reported that at least 20 children have dropped out of school because of poverty caused by mining and around 25 teenagers are working in the mines as daily wage labour.

There is one NCLP school up to class V, in Birmitrapur, which is managed by an NGO from Rourkela. There are only 40 children enrolled, of which only 11 children were present on the day of our visit. The teacher stated that there are more than 200 child labourers in Birmitrapur town itself, but they are unable to come to the NCLP school due to abject poverty of the families, and therefore have to supplement the family incomes.


Inspite of the existence of mining companies, migration of unskilled workers is high in Sundergarh, which speaks for the low employment opportunities that mining companies create for local people. This is also the reason why Sundergarh has become one of the junctions for trafficking and migration, especially with respect to young girls being whisked away by organised trade for human labour as well as for prostitution.271

Dolomite mining of BSL, Sundergarh (Photo November 2009)

In Birmitrapur, alteast 50 more families whose lands were taken for mining, have yet to receive compensation. These families continue to live in the slum in Birmitrapur as they wait for compensation, but the landlessness has forced them to make their children drop out of school and take them for mine labour. The impoverishment is clearly visible with daily wage labour being the only form of subsistence.

When we visited the Purna Panni Limestone and Dolomite Quarries, the Assistant General Manager gave information about the social welfare activities taken up by the company under corporate social responsibility (CSR), although the mines are currently shut down and may be reopened as a joint venture with SAIL. He talked about how the mining provided economic opportunities to the local people besides other facilities like electricity, roads, health camps, fishing rights and other amenities. However, the testimonies of the people of Purna Panni village disputed these claims.

In Purna Panni village, 40 per cent of the population fall below the age of 18 years. Atleast five villages were affected by Purna Panni Limestone and Dolomite Quarries and were forced to migrate to find wage labour elsewhere like Gujarat, Delhi, Punjab, Andamans and other places. The company has not employed the 1,000–1,200 locals displaced by their project, whereas compensation and jobs were promised at the time of land acquisition. Not even drinking water or medical facilities were provided to the community.

In Chanabahar the local village leaders complained that companies like M/s. Chariot Steel and Power Private Limited, M/s. Tripathi Company and others were involved in illegal mining activities and were encroaching on to adivasi lands. They reported that about 81 acres of such illegally acquired land, affecting about 10 families, were under mining operations. The villagers said that the affected families were given Rs.1,500 per acre as compensation and were promised employment and other benefits, which they have not received so far. All these families are in a state of impoverishment and work as landless labourers today.

Water Contamination and Its Impact on Health

Water is the most serious problem expressed by the local communities besides the malnourishment of children. Prior to mining, the local river was a common property, which was the main source of water for drinking and irrigation. After BSL company got the mining lease, water was diverted to the company and the mine tailings were dumped into the river converting into a highly polluted water body unfit for consumption. It was evident that the water in the entire region is contaminated and consists of heavy metals and dust, as a result of overdrawing of water and dumping of mine waste. The sponge iron factories have dug up bore-wells creating serious groundwater depletion. The 49 sponge iron factories with each having 15–20 deep bore-wells having a depth of about 800 ft from the ground level is more than a cause for alarm for the people of this region.

Contaminated drinking water in mine workers’ colonies, Sundergarh (Photo November 2009)

The area has been witnessing serious health problems related to waterborne diseases due to the contamination of water. Problems like filaria, hydrocele and gynaecological problems were reported by the local leaders as well as by the women interviewed. Serious occupational health hazards were reported around the cement factories in Rajgangpur. In the summer months and for many parts of the year, severe water shortage is experienced due to low groundwater levels. It is mainly the girl children who accompany their mothers for collection of water, which is contaminated. They are constantly exposed to the toxicity from the mine tailings that get mixed in these water bodies.

In Brahmanimara village which is the worst affected by mining, around 810 households mainly belonging to ST families, face a severe problem of drinking water as well as water for irrigation. As the mining activities have depleted the groundwater, the water that is pumped up for drinking has high levels of limestone and dust but the villagers are forced to consume this water, having no other option. The farmers stated that the land productivity has gone down drastically due to lack of adequate water and therefore, more and more families have to migrate seasonally.

Only in Mundatolli the study team was told that the BSL company provides medical aid and benefits and provides drinking water to both workers and the community.

The Junior Engineer of the Public Health Department shared that, of the 11 wards in Birmitrapur municipality, drinking water is supplied to 7–9 wards after treatment at the BSL water reserve, but he confessed that it may not be completely free from pollutants and that not all the affected villages have access to this water. He further informed that there are 181 tubewells whose approximate depth was 200 ft but as the mining companies were exploiting the water resources right down to 400 ft, this has led to water crisis and therefore, the companies are being denied permission to do mining.

Water crisis! Water contains mine tailings and is unfit for human or animal consumption, Sundergarh (Photo November 2009)
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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

Postby admin » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:23 am

Part 3 of 4

Health Condition of Children and Community

Common health problems related to children were stated to be malaria, filariasis, TB and gastroenteritis. Most of their health problems are connected to the highly contaminated water because of which gastroenteritis, jaundice and diarrhoea are commonly suffered by the children. Diabetes is also highly prevalent in this area. As the stagnant water from the mine sites and the mining dumps are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, the children are living in poor sanitary conditions. They are suffering from malnutrition and malaria which affects them cyclically making them anaemic and more susceptible to illnesses. The anganwadi workers claimed that some children have TB. A serious health problem among the children here is filariasis as stated by Fr. Nicholas Barla of GAFSCA. A survey conducted by them in the year 2006 in Purna Panni village, showed that there were 40 cases of filariasis in this village alone, and among them, 10–12 were children. The reason, according to them, for such high incidence of the disease in this village could be due to the stagnating water in the mine pits and the abandoned mines where rainwater gets collected.

In Bramhanimara village the people stated that they used to work in the mines earlier but many of them contracted TB due to this work. Also, the proximity of the mine site keeps them in constant danger of accidents and injuries from mine blasting. The village has not received any social or health benefits from the company either in the form of education, housing, roads, electricity or other facilities although this is the most directly affected by the project.

According to the medical officer of the CHC in Birmitrapur, occupational health problems are significantly high in the area and he informed that people suffered from respiratory illnesses, malaria, TB (See Table 2.23 for data on TB cases), filaria and other waterborne diseases mainly due to the mining activities. He also stated that there is severe shortage of medicines in the PHC due to the high rate of illnesses but the hospital does not get any help from the mining companies.

Table 2.23: Data of TB for the last 4 years till October 2009
Year / Reported cases of TB / Positive cases of TB

2006 / 228 / 52
2007 / 227 / 53
2008 / 376 / 53
2009 / 433 / 41
Source: CHC, Birmitrapur, (excluding the figure of the BSL run hospital)

Child Labour

There are many women and teenage girls below the age of 18 years working as unskilled labour either directly in mining activities or indirectly in construction of roads and factories in Birmitrapur area and the women said they get a wage of Rs.60 per day while the men get Rs.100. Interviews with workers in all the mine sites revealed that while those under direct employment receive some form of benefits, the majority of the contract labourers receive no benefits except for their daily wages.

Children from displaced families and mine workers’ families were found to be working either in mining or other ancillary activities like road construction work, loading of trucks, breaking stones, working in the crushers or as cleaners for the trucks. Groups of young girls go to the mines together every day and work until 5 p.m. They work with the limestone with their bare hands and have no safety gear given to them. In Dillu quarry near Bramhanamari village, we found several adolescent mine workers, most of them girls between the ages of 14 and 16. There were 11 child labourers other than these adolescent girls, who were found working. The girls responded that they are hired as contract labour and earn around Rs.40–50 per day for the tough work in the mines. The girls are mostly hired in the stone crushers where they are paid low wages but as the economic condition of the families is very low, the girls are sent to work in the crushers. The girls also reported that the mine owners give them sugarcane every week, probably to boost their energy levels and extract more work from them. Because of this impoverishment, the local organisations complained that young girls are trafficked to cities like Delhi and Mumbai by local agents who pose as middlemen for employment. Local organisations working for the rights of children have taken up the cause of human trafficking in Sundergarh, which is mainly due to indebtedness created by mining and other industries. Most of the boys working in the mines were reported to be addicted to gutka, alcohol and gambling. Strangely, we found many orphanages situated in this region but the reasons for the significant number of orphanages in one area, was not clear as we could not interview the heads of these institutions.

Young girls working in Dolomite mines and stone crushers at Birmitrapur, Sundergarh (Photo November 2009)

Social Issues

The SHG or dakua women interviewed stated that due to the mining activities there are many unwed mothers and there is a high rate of trafficking of young girls and women and migration for labour elsewhere. The presence of five orphanages in such a small area is evidence of this.

Earlier the Birds group had taken up social welfare activities by putting aside some part of its profit to create a ‘shesh fund’. Student scholarships were provided through the ‘Edward Benthol Fund’ as part of their philanthropic activities.


Sundergarh has been declared as one of the most polluted and backward regions in the country and stands at a junction between three states where trafficking of children and women is known to be extremely high. The human development indices for children are some of the lowest in the country and this is reflected in the scale of child and human trafficking in the district. It was estimated by a survey done by the Rourkela Social Service Society that every day there is trafficking of at least 20 girls to the urban cities like Delhi and Mumbai. At least 7,000 girls were trafficked in each year from the Sundergarh district according to their survey. In 2003-04, a survey done by the same organisation shows that in the same year at least 35,000 girls were trafficked to different parts of the country. The main reason for this high incidence of trafficking is the stark poverty, and non-implementation of the developmental schemes and mining projects in the areas. As industrialisation, especially mining, spread rapidly in the district, adivasis, who form a majority of the population have become vulnerable to migration and trafficking. The district has also an alarming rate of unwed mothers and prostitution. In the year 2006, 12 persons afflicted by HIV/AIDS from the areas of Birmitrapur and Rajgangpur died.

Sundergarh has also witnessed a spurt of violent actions from extreme left (Maoist) groups and the region is now considered as politically disturbed. With multinational mining interests eyeing the adivasi lands in Sundergarh, it is anticipated that political violence between the state and Maoist groups will increase in the future. Sundergarh stands as an example of how an agricultural adivasi region has been taken over by mining contractors, traders, land mafia, corporate agents in nexus with police and political forces. The fact that the Indian Bureau of Mines team which was sent to conduct investigations into alleged mining scams, had been interrupted in their field investigations, makes one suspicious on the pressure that the mining conglomerates could bring on the political powers. The alarming status of groundwater depletion and the contamination of water bodies in the dolomite and limestone quarry areas of Sundergarh is the biggest problem expressed by women who fear to collect this water for their domestic use. The frightening situation is that they have no alternative source and this crisis brought on the region by rampant mining activities does not stir any response from mining or state authorities. Besides, it is not only the mineral extraction but the existence of several sponge iron factories, both in the case of Sundergarh and Keonjhar, which are adding to the high levels of air pollution and water contamination in the region. New projects are being cleared in Sundergarh and the people expressed a deep sense of fear and frustration that it is the mining lobby that controls the administration in the district and not any governance institutions. Hence, in state after state, we have witnessed a complete collapse of the state and its institutions as a result of mining.

(Acknowledgements: The case study in Sundergarh district was undertaken in partnership with GAFSCA. We acknowledge the help and support of Fr. Nicholas Barla and his team in facilitating the field visits and meetings in the villages, as well as in sharing the data and information available with their organisation).

Proposed Mining in Kasipur and Conflict due to Utkal Alumina Limited Limited

Ajit (name changed) hails from Dom Koral village of Tikiri. He is 17 years old. As he lost his father 5 years ago, he was forced to take on the entire burden of the family and become the sole bread-winner. He works as a manual labourer under different contractors in mining activities and earns around Rs.60 per day day. He stated that the mining work is erratic and hence his earnings are irregular. “I do odd jobs at the mine site as there is construction work going on.Work is very tough and therefore, I have gradually become addicted to liquor and gutka, but I can’t help it.”

Source: Interview carried out in Dom Koral, Kasipur, June 2009.

Kasipur block is in Raigada district of undivided Koraput region in the state of Orissa. The hills of Kasipur, in Koraput district, have very rich deposits of bauxite and the mining industries, both national and multinational, have been eyeing these resources for unscrupulous exploitation at the cost of social, economic and environmental destruction.

Pre-mining area, Kasipur (Photo June 2009)

Kasipur area is mainly inhabited by adivasis living in the midst of thick forests and hills. These areas are, in legal terminology, called the Scheduled Areas as per the Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution where majority adivasis live and have exclusive ownership of land. Out of the total population of the district nearly 72.03 per cent of the people are BPL families272 and more than 50 per cent of its total population belong to adivasi communities. Kasipur consists of 20 gram panchayats which is a conglomeration of around 270 villages. According to Census 2001, the total population of the block is 67,254. The Jhodia, Kandho, Paraja tribes and the Panos (untouchables or dalits) constitute around 70–80 per cent of the total population of the block and the rest are OBCs. The adivasis here mainly subsist on agriculture and collection of forest produce.

Proposed mining projects in the region

The Baphlimali and the Niyamgiri hills of Kasipur account for 67.7 per cent of bauxite reserves in India. This region of Orissa, mostly from the western part, contributes around 13 per cent of the world’s bauxite reserves. The content of alumina in the bauxite ore in this region is around 45–48 per cent. It is proposed that UAIL will extract bauxite ore from Baphlimali. Similarly Larsen and Tubro will have its mines at Sijumali, Sterlite India Limited will have mines at Niyamgiri and Aditya Birla’s Hindustan Aluminium Company (HINDALCO) will have another independent unit by mining at Kodingamali hills. All these units together are meant to affect about 2,700 families of nearly 200 villages.

UAIL earlier a joint venture of Norsk Hydro, ALCAN and HINDALCO, is now completely owned by HINDALCO of the Aditya Birla Group, and proposes to extract bauxite with a capacity of 1–3 million tonnes per annum.

History of the People’s Struggle in Kasipur

In the year 1993 the local people first came to know that UAIL, a multi national company, had decided to set up an alumina extraction plant near Kucheipadar in Kasipur Block. Prakrutiko Sampado Surakshya Parishad (PSSP) is a people’s movement, which emerged as a resistance to the Utkal project. The struggle is unique in its nature as it is the local adivasi community that has led the movement.

(Photo: Samata)

The people of Kasipur have, right from the beginning, opposed the alumina project tooth and nail, and refused to give their lands to the company. Since 1993 the local community resisted all activities initiated by the company like construction of roads, bridges, resettlement colonies and put up strong resistance whenever company staff or government officials tried to engage them either through frivolous community development projects like the Utkal Rural Development Society (URDS) or through false promises of future employment or economic gains. Unable to break through this resistance, the state along with UAIL, filed false criminal cases on the leaders of PSSP several times, took them into illegal custody and tried to terrorise people into submission.

State Excesses and Human Rights Violations

More than 60 false criminal cases have been filed on the local leaders of the movement so far. People, however, organised rallies, public meetings and strikes to prevent the project from being implemented. On 16 December 2000, police entered the area and opened fire indiscriminately at the people and three adivasis were killed with many seriously injured. Since then, the situation in Kasipur is tense, with clashes between adivasis who are opposing the project and those outside, who are instigated by corporate agents. The interference of police and sporadic clashes that occur every time increase pressure and harassment on people, and have threatened the security and peace in the area. It was with great difficulty that the case study was conducted as the study team, faced antagonism, suspicion and intimidation from the community who have had to deal with constant political and corporate manipulations. Table 2.24 gives some demographic details of the project area in Kasipur.

Struggle of people from Kasipur (Photo Samata)

According to the official statistics, the project will displace 148 households of three villages namely Dom Koral, Kendukhunti and Ramibeda. Table 2.25 gives some information on dispalcemet in Kasipur villages visited. In 2007, two villages, Ramibeda and Kendukhunti were relocated to the DP camp at Nuapada. A total of 147 families shifted to this colony from the two villages, while the resettlement colony for Dom Koral is still under construction. At the new DP camp, the company provided housing, electricity, drinking water and a school with a local teacher. The rehabilitation and resettlement plan according to UAIL’s promises consists of a house, a tank for bathing, community centre, a pond for bathing and washing, school, playground for the children with other essential facilities to the displaced people. It was also stated that rehabilitation and resettlement would be based on land for land compensation. Further, each displaced family was to be given 10 cents of land with a house of 300 sq feet.273

However, no such rehabilitation took place so far, although the families have been displaced. The villagers complain that the compensation given to the displaced is worse than what was provided in Damanjodi by NALCO. As expressed by the affected families, 80–90 per cent of those who lost land are yet to receive compensation. In the initial stage, UAIL gave Rs.21,300 per acre and in the second phase it decided to give Rs. 1 lakh per acre as compensation. Further, the company declared to increase the compensation prices to 1 lakh more per acre. However, this was not implemented as promised. Promises of jobs were made by the company, but only irregular daily wage labour is currently available and the people see no scope of employment in the future either as they have come to know that the mining will be highly mechanised.

The affected area is the source of around 130 streams which feed the three major rivers that flow from here-—he Nagavali, Indravati and Vamsadhara. Most of the land lost for the project is wetland with at least two crops of paddy and multiple cereals and pulses grown in these lands.274

Situation of Children in the Displacement Camp and Villages Affected

The community leaders, PSSP leaders and anganwadi workers of the area were interviewed to get a picture of the status of education of the children in this area. It was told by the above that almost 50 per cent of the children are out of school and involved in either agriculture or mining related labour. The information from discussions with the above groups is distinctly varying from the information available under the government DISE report cards, with regard to school enrolment and drop-out rates. We present below both the sources of information, but unless an indepth household survey is conducted, it would be difficult to get an accurate picture of the actual number of children out of school and working as child labour. However, the other sources of secondary data provided in the state overview of Orissa show that there is a substantial rate of school drop-out children in this area of Koraput and Rayagada. First person interviews with families who were resettled revealed that many children have now shifted to construction and other daily wage labour activities, after the mining related construction work started since 2005. Table 2.26 gives information on enrolment data for study villages in Kasipur block.

Table 2.24: Some demographic details of the project area, Kasipur

The families displaced are mainly working as daily wage labour in the company activities like road construction, construction of bridges, walls and other odd forms of casual labour which is not a regular income or livelihood.

Table 2.25: Information collected on displacement, Kasipur
Sl no / Total land acquired for the project / Total no of displaced famlies / Total amount of rehabilitation and compensation received

1 / Approximately 150 acres of paddy land and 100 acres of dry land, 1 river diverted / No / First payment in 1992: Rs.21,300 per acre but none received any compensation in II and III phase.

2 / No land but one river is coming under the UAIL mining activities / No / No  

3 / More than 150 acres of land / 30 / Last payment in 2003 was Rs. 1 lakh per acre

4 / Above 100 acres of land / Around 30 / Last payment in 2003 was Rs. 1 lakh per acre

5 / Around 850 acres of land / 92 / Last payment in 2003 was Rs. 1 lakh per acre but not all families received compensation

6 / Nearly 65 acres / NA/ Last payment in 2003 was Rs. 1 lakh per acre

7 / 67 acres of land / Most are displaced and kept in the DP camp / Most are rehabilitated in the DP camp; Last payment in 2003 was Rs. 1 lakh per acre  

8 / Around 25 per cent of the total land required for the project. All the residents of the camp are from the three villages of Ramibeda, Koral and Kendukhunti who lost land and also houses / 147 / All rehabilitated through the company by providing house and temporary worker designation

Village name: (1) Kucheipadar, (2) Maikanch, (3) Ramibeda, (4) Kendukhunti, (5) Koral both D. Koral and Tala Koral, (6) Bagrijhola, (7) Dwimundi, (8) DP Camp

Source: Local leaders and affected families; (figures are approximate based on people’s statements)

Table 2.26: Village level school enrolment data from primary data
District / Block / Village / Total / SC / ST / OBC / Others / Primary data

Rayagada / Kasipur / Kucheipadar / 280 / 88 / 164 / 28 / 38 / 100
Rayagada / Kasipur / Maikanch 235 / 47 / 190 / 58 / 3 / 150
Rayagada / Kasipur / Ramibeda / -- / -- / -- / -- / -- / 25
Rayagada / Kasipur / Kendukhunti / -- / -- / -- / -- / -- / 45
Rayagada / Kasipur / Koral both D. Koral and Tala Koral / 248 / 119 / 104 / 72 / 1 / 350  
Rayagada / Kasipur / Bagrijhola / -- / -- / -- / -- / -- / 130
Rayagada / Kasipur / DP camp / -- / -- / -- / -- / -- / 160
Rayagada / Kasipur / Dimundi / 217 / 82 / 116 / 29 / 2 Data not available
Others=Repeaters, CWSN and Muslim
Note: Discrepencies in totals exist but the data is as given in the DISE report card
Source: DISE report card, September 2008 and primary data collected (figures are approximate based on people’s statements)

Table 2.27: Some figures regarding status of children, Kasipur
Sl / Total population below 18 / Sex-wise below 18 population / Educational Institutions / Literacy rate (percentage) / No. of drop-out children / No. of children working in mining/other sectors
-- / -- / Male / Female -- / -- / Male / Female -- / Male / Female

1 / 900 / 500 / 400 / 2 (1 government and 1 private) / 5 approximately / 60 / 40 / Around 350 / 250 / 100

2 / 1,000–2,000 / 600 / 500 / 2 (1 primary and 1 high school) / 5 approximately / 80 / 70 / Around 300 / 20 children in non-mining activities / 10 in non- mining activities

3 / 50 / /30 / 20 / No primary school / < 5 / 15 / 10 / Around 30 / Around 30 in mining, hotels, helpers for truckers, truck drivers / 10–15 domestic maids

4 / 80 / 50 / 30 / 1 primary school / < 5 / 25 / 20 / Around 30-40 / Around 20 / Data not available

5 / 1,100 / 600 / 500 / 1 primary school, 1 middle school / 30 (appr) / 200 / 150 / 200–300 / Minimum 200 to 300 / 100–150 in mining and other labour

6 / 500 / 300 / 200 / 1 primary school / < 5 / Within 100 / Around 30 / Around 50-70 / Around 100 / Some children working as wage labour.

7 / 240 / 240 / 200 / 1 primary school / Data not available / Data not available / Data not available / Around 50 / More than 50 children / Around 15

8 / 450–500 / 300 / 250 / 1 primary school / < 10 / Nearly 100 / > 60 / Around 100 / Around 70 to 80 / 20–30

Village name: (1) Kucheipadar, (2) Maikanch, (3) Ramibeda, (4) Kendukhunti, (5) Koral both D. Koral and Tala Koral, (6) Bagrijhola, (7) Dimundi, (8) DP Camp

Source: Interviews with local people (figures are approximate based on people’s statements)

The DP Camp is far away from the village and hence the children do not have access to the primary school in the village and therefore, some of the younger children attend the company school within the resettlement colony. However, this is temporary in nature and there is no certainty that it would continue. Many of the children above 12 years do not attend school and either remain at home or take part in the labour activities of mining or construction work. Most of the youth are working as manual labourers in mining and construction activities, or in tea stalls, hotels and other petty shops in the area. Table 2.27 gives information of status on children in villages visited in Kasipur.

It was observed that hardly 50–100 children of each village regularly attend school. For example, in the villages of Ramibeda, Kendukhunti, the school is in Dimundi village. Even if a school officially exists, there is no infrastructure and there are no teachers who attend regularly. On the other hand, the people stated that there is increase in child drop out rate in almost every village every year. Villagers stated that at least 10 per cent of children in each village drop out every year for different reasons but mainly due to the poor financial situation of the family. Most of the children in the area were found to be working in different construction sites, mining, small hotels and in the markets where they earn a daily wage to supplement their family’s subsistence.

According to the interview with the ANM of Tikiri who is in charge of 11 villages and supervises four anganwadi workers, the total population of her area is 4,479 and around 700–800 children are in the age group of 0–5 years. Although she does not maintain a detailed register, according to her estimates, only 20–30 per cent are literate. The basic health problems of the children in the area are malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea. She has noticed an increase in the number of TB cases in the villages. A random count by her in Koral village showed that there are about 10 absolute malnutrition cases among the children but she commented that there were many more anaemic and malnourished children.

This year the institutional deliveries were 70 out of 120 deliveries and the IMR is 51 per 1,000 live births, which is highest in the district. In the previous year there were at least 4–5 identified cases of HIV/AIDS in the area.

The anganwadi worker in Tikri stated that the number of child labour is rapidly increasing in the area. At present, around 30 per cent of the children in the age group of 10–15 years are directly or indirectly involved in the mining activities. In the nearest town of the mining project, it can be estimated that at least 500 children are working in the hotels, shops, garages, railway station and tea stalls.275 From each of the villages affected by the UAIL project, there are an average of 50–60 children and adolescents under 18 years of age, working in the construction site of mining under local contractors. At present (just before closure of the mining activities) there were 400–500 children and youth of both sexes working in the mine site as daily labour.

Child labour in Kasipur Area (Photo June 2009)

In Kucheipadar village, there is only one primary school and one Panchayat school. Roughly, it was estimated that around 300–400276 children are working as child labour in mining and non-mining related activities. As per the statements of the villagers, these groups of children, especially adolescent boys, are involved in anti-social activities like alcoholism, stealing, gambling, petty theft and consumerism due to the new influences.

Basic Amenities and Health Status of Children

In Kasipur it was found that the area is desperately lacking in basic amenities like anganwadi centres, primary schools, drinking water, electricity and medical facilities. Southern Orissa including Kasipur is well known for malnutrition and starvation deaths. The people in Kasipur villages reported that every year 25–30 children below the age of 6 years die due to malnutrition and related illnesses. Waterborne diseases like malaria, diarrhoea and communicable diseases like TB are highly prevalent in the area. Immunisation of children is badly implemented making them vulnerable to some of the fatal childhood illnesses. Due to neglect from state administration the region continues to suffer from health problems and infant mortality.

On the one hand as existing administrative neglect poses serious threats to the health and development of the children, on the other hand the displacement due to mining, shift from agriculture to manual labour and lack of food, has led to child labour and increased child malnourishment. The constant state of terror and violence that has been perpetrated in the area due to mining, gives reason for community level government staff like teachers and health service providers, to further neglect their duties and not visit the villages. This forespeaks serious trouble ahead for the children of this area. The complexities in the political disturbance have been aggravated, with religious fundamental groups, both Hindu and Christian taking advantage of the vulnerable situation. The multiple pressures from the police, corporate, Maoist, communal, non-adivasi and other interests on the adivasi population have created a prolonged situation of terror with innumerable false police cases hanging on the heads of the local agitators, thereby creating not only a messy political situation, but also severe insecurity and uncertainty of life for the women and children living in this area.

Many of the women, whose husbands face false cases, are helplessly living in starvation, have had to withdraw their children from school and are faced with the burden of supporting their families while their husbands are either in and out of jail or spend most of their time and money on attending court hearings.


It is not clear what benefits the proposed mining project will bring to the adivasi children in an area which has already high rates of malnourishment, infant mortality and low school attendance. Rehabilitation, mostly restricted to monetary compensation with little promise of employment, as bauxite mining is technology intensive, holds hardly any hope for the local community in terms of economic sustenance. While it is true that the existing development situation is no better in terms of education and health indicators of children, mining is unlikely to improve this situation. Rather, it may only lead to more alarming indicators as is seen in the NALCO affected communities and even in Kasipur itself where immediate impacts have been an increase in child labour.

Unless rehabilitation clearly spells out commitments from the state and the mining companies with respect to children and improving their access to quality education, health care and social security, the amorphous promises may end in the mine tailings dumps. Unless these specific development programmes and investments are set as a pre-condition to sanctioning of mining leases and a strong regulatory mechanism that regularly monitors the implementation with respect to child related interventions, monitors the health and nutrition levels of children there will be no serious and concrete responsibility displayed.

Moreover, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Communities emphasises the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of local adivasi communities, which is ratified by India but not respected when it comes to Greenfield projects in adivasi areas. Neither in Kasipur nor in neighbouring Lanjigarh has the Orissa government implemented the FPIC principles, especially in the context of children and the communities’ demands for protection of their children’s rights. At one stroke, these projects have wiped out the constitutional Fifth Schedule rights as well as that of the verdict given in the Samatha Judgement, to the adivasi children of Kasipur, whose ownership to lands as future land-holders is being destroyed by transferring their lands to private mining companies.

Therefore, it nullifies the purpose of the Fifth Schedule for the future generations of the adivasi people. This is particularly so in Orissa, where almost every inch of adivasi land is being proposed for some project or the other and where a large portion has already been shelved off to industries. It is difficult to envisage mining as a sustainable development for children or for the community as long as legal and voluntary commitments remain on paper alone. This is the greatest injustice that mining in India has brought to the adivasi children.

(Acknowledgements: This case study was done in partnership with Ankuran, Rayagada and the assistance of Mr. Badal Kumar Tah, Mrs. Bidulata Huika in the field visits to Kasipur and surrounding villages. We specifically thank Mr. Navin Naik and Mr. Prahlad Naid who accompanied us to the villages for all the data collection and interviews. We thank the time given to us by Mr. Bhagvan Majhi, PSSP, and for sharing his perspectives of the campaign against UAIL.)
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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

Postby admin » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:27 am

Part 4 of 4

Mining in Keonjhar

“My name is Mohit (name changed). My age is around 16–17 years, I am not sure. I am from the village of Salarapentha. After my family lost our land for the mining company, my father became sick with TB after working for some time in the mining company, and he died. "e company initially promised all the affected that jobs will be provided to all families, but so far no villager got a job. I am the highest qualified person from my village as I failed in matriculation. I work in the mines as a daily wage worker and earn Rs. 60 per day. Sometimes I earn Rs.1,800 per month when there is full time work, but most often, work is irregular. We do not have access to drinking water, medical facilities or housing from the company. I am married and I have a lot of tension to make my family survive. So I take mahua sometimes to beat the stress. My mother is also a victim of TB and it is very difficult to handle the expenditure on medical costs and also buy food. I was very interested in going to college but I have to support my family.”

Source: Interview carried out in Salarapentha, Keonjhor, February 2010

Keonjhar forms a part of northern central plateau with an area of 8,240 sq km. The district is bounded by Singhbhum district of Jharkhand in the north, Jajpur in the south, Dhenkanal and Sundergarh in the west, and Mayurbhanj and Bhadrak in the east. It lies between 21°1’N and 22°10’N latitude and 85°11’ E to 86°22’ E longitude.

Orissa contributes around one-third of the total iron ore deposit of the country and around one-fourth of the total coal deposits.277 Keonjhar contributes nearly 75 per cent of rich iron ore deposits present in the state. By the turn of the twentieth century mineral deposits were discovered by geologists, and Joda formed the nucleus of mining and industrial activity in Keonjhar in 1905. The early 1990s threw open the gates for exponential expansion with large-scale investments from the private sector and foreign investors. There are nearly 118 mining leases, large and medium in Keonjhar.

Keonjhar district had been witnessing large-scale mining activity during the past three decades. Rampant mining of iron ore has been taking place in Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Sundergarh areas, both legal and illegal. According to reports, more than 100 open cast iron ore mines covering over 60,000 ha of land are in operation and a large area is under illegal operation within Keonjhar forest division.278

Profile of Mining Companies

It is very difficult to provide details of companies operating or the area under operation as illegal mining is as much or more than legal mining. Even large companies operate through contractors, so it is difficult even for local communities to understand the ownership of the mines. The local leaders commented that there were 100–200 illegal mines and around 400 illegal crushers. Table 2.28 gives details of some existing mining companies in the region.

Keonjhar has the distinction of containing one of the oldest rocks of the world, approximately 38,000 million years old, covering an area of 100 sq km at Asanpat. At least 30 per cent of the total area is covered with dense forest having vast mineral resources. Almost 60 per cent of the area is covered by reserved forest and the rest is under the control of the Revenue Department. The total area under mining activities in the district is 312 sq km.

Rich agricultural land proposed for mining, Keonjhar in the district is 312 sq km. (Photo June 2009)

Table 2.28: Details of some of the existing mining companies in the region
Sl no / Company/lease holder / Items of production / Location

1 / M/S SAIL / Iron ore / Bolani
2 / M/S Essel Mining & ind. / Iron ore, dolomite, limestone / Kasia
3 / M/S BPMEL/ Iron ore / Thakurani
4 / Dr. Patnaik/ Iron ore and manganese ore / Thakurani
5 / SR Steel / Iron ore and manganese ore / Dobuna
6 / Kalinga Sponge and Steel company / -- / Dobuna
7 / Ferro Manganese / Manganese ferro alloy / Joda
8 / SR Steel / Iron ore / Bodokalimati
Source: Field visit July 2009; data of the above are mainly based on the opinion of the villagers and Lutheran World Service india (LWSI)

Demographic Profile of the Villages in the Area

As it is one of the adivasi dominated districts of the state, Keonjhor is home to Juangs and other adivasi communities especially the Bhatudi, Gond, Mundas, and Santals. According to the 2001 Census the total population of the district is 1,561,990 out of which the the ST population constitutes 44.5 per cent and the SC population is 11.62 per cent. Importantly, 75 per cent of the total population lives in the rural areas. Census 2001 shows that there are at least 46 adivasi communities in the district. Out of these 16 prominent tribes of the district constitute 96.12 per cent of the total adivasi population in the district. Table 2.29 gives village-wise data of sites visited in Keonjhar.279

The areas, which the researcher visited during the field trip, had majority ST and some SC families. Some of the data given below are based on the views of the villagers and it reflects the socio-economic and political situation of the villages, the price of displacement and the mining in these areas especially with respect to ecological imbalance, the issues concerning women and child labour in the mining areas.

Table 2.29: Village-wise data, Keonjhar
Sl no. / Name of the village / Total households / Total population / Male / Female / Total population under 18 years / Male / Female

1 / Bolani / 350 / 1,500 / 800 / 700 / 900 / 500 / 400
2 / Kasia / 350 / 2,000 / 950 / 1,050 / 1,100 / 550 / 600
3 / Tanto / 135 / 700 / 370 / 330 / 300 / 160 / 140
4 / Thakurani /100 / 500 / 250 / 250 / 200 / 100 / 100
5 / Dobuna / 350 / 1,700 / 900 / 800 / 700 / 400 / 300
6 / Bodokalimati / 190–200 / 1,000–1,300 / 650 / 600 500 / 250 / 250
7 / Joda / 120 / 600–700 / 350 / 300 / 300 / 200 100
Source: Field visit July 2009; above data is in approximate figures and is mainly based on the opinion of villagers

Social Cost of Displacement

As seen in Salarapentha and Madrangajodi villages, those who lost land only received cash compensation ranging between Rs.2 and 10 lakhs, depending on the type of land lost. In most of the places the villagers complained that they received only between Rs.60,000 and Rs.70,000 as compensation. However, this compensation did not enable them to purchase new land and they have ended up as manual labour in the mines. Almost all of them are below the poverty line but many do not hold BPL cards or NREGA cards due to the negligence of the revenue officials in issuing cards to them.

Tikarapada village, having a population of 1,200, is one of the worst affected villages due to the mining activities in the area. Most of the villagers, who are STs, used to depend on agriculture and forestry as their main occupation. Almost all the families in this village lost their agricultural land for mining, and today they are forced to work as daily wage labour for the mining contractors. Their economic condition is deplorable because of which their children have dropped out of school and are also involved in mine labour activities. Displacement has forced many youth of the villages to shift to mine labour work. The influence of external migrant population like truck drivers (where about 60,000 trucks ply in the area each day), has led to social disturbance among the adivasi youth who were not vulnerable to addictions like alcohol, gutka and crimes like theft and pick-pocketing, prior to mining. This has changed the social cohesion of the adivasi communities in the young generation.

The village Salarapentha is situated in the heart of five big mine processing factories and crushers. The village has not only been badly affected by mining but has also not received any development facilities or basic amenities. Most of the villagers had sold their land to the mining companies at very low prices. The villagers expressed that they hardly got Rs. 1,500 per decimal of land. At least 80–100 acres of land of the villages are under the mining companies.

Madrangajodi village is situated in the hilly part of the district and has vast forest cover and mineral resources. Mining companies have acquired 20–30 acres of land from here and converted them into mine labour. However, the workers are paid only Rs.2,000 per month as salary after losing their lands. Thus, most of the local people who lost land were promised employment, but the situation is more or less similar to that of Madrangajodi village.

On one side, the socio-economic condition of the villagers is below the poverty line, but on the other side, government programmes like widow pensions, BPL cards or NREGA do not reach the community. Only 15–20 women are able to get the widow pension and a few families have BPL ration cards.

Another major problem of the village is alcohol. As mining companies are hand in glove with the police and excise personnel, they have many liquor shops in the area, thus making the community and workers vulnerable to alcohol. Here it was found that not only men, women and young girls are also addicted, due to the heavy work load in the mines.

Impact of Mining on Primary Education of Children in the Region: Implications on Child Labour

Following tables give population and other details of villages covered under the study, both from Census sources as well as from field interviews. The increase in population in the primary data could be due to the fact that it is almost 10 years since the census data was collected. The Census 2001 data, the school enrolment data from the DISE cards and the school drop out rates from primary data show that a considerable number of children are out of school and working in various forms of child labour. For example, in Bolani village there are 650–700 children under 18 years as per local communities but the school enrolment for this village is only 480, which implies that at least 100–150 children are out of school. Khasia has a minor population of 700 but the enrolment data only gives 143 children. There are only 78 children enrolled in Tanto village whereas, the under 18 population is around 250. As in other places, some children are also attending schools and working in the informal activities, part time. The census data shows that majority of the children are from ST communities, with the SC children being the next largest in number. Table 2.30 provides Census 2001 data and Table 2.31 gives primary data collected on population. Table 2.32 gives comparative information on primary data collected and DISE report card 2008.

Table 2.30: Village data from Census 2001, Keonjhar
Sl no. / Name of the village / Total households / Total Population / Male / Female / Total population based on caste

1 / Bolani / 305 / 1,562 / 811/ 751 / SC-137, M-71, F-65, ST, M-591, F-576
2 / Kasia / 295 / 1,301 / 646 / 655 / SC-207, M-124, F-83, ST-848, M-416, F-432
3 / Tanto / 115 / 535 / 276 / 259 / SC, M-9, F-9 ST, M-238, F-229
4 / Thakurani / 61 / 318 / 162 / 156 / ST-266, M-136, F-130
5 / Dobuna / 263 / 1,140 / 564 / 576 / SC-289, M-121, F-168 ST-499, M-250, F-249
6 / Bada Kalamati / 163 / 663 / 346 / 317 / SC-69, M-39, F-30, ST-435, M-221, F-214
7 / Joda/ 90 / 433 / 228 / 205 / SC-2, M-1, F-1, ST-312, M-156, F-156
Source: Census 2001

Table 2.31: Some tentative figures for population, Keonjhar
Sl no. / Name of the village / Total households / Total population / Male / Female / Total population under 18 years / Male / Female

1 / Bolani / 350 / 1,600 / 800 / 700 / 650–700 / 350 / 300
2 / Kasia / 350 / 1,700 / 950 / 1,050 / 700–750 / 450 / 300
3 / Tanto / 135 / 700 / 370 / 330 / 250 / 150 / 100
4 / Thakurani / 100 / 500 / 250 / 250 / 200 / 100 / 100
5 / Dobuna / 350 / 1,300–1,350 / 700 650 350 / 200 / 150
6 / BadaKalamati/ 190-200 / 800–850 / 450 / 400 / 350 / 200 / 150
7 / Joda / 120 / 600–700 / 350 / 300 / 300 / 200 / 100
Source: Field visit July 2009; data of the above are mainly based on the opinion of the villagers and may be approximate figures

Mining activities have certainly had a serious negative impact on the education of the children, and the primary and secondary data available for this region substantiate this situation.

Table 2.32: Comparative village-wise school enrolment data and primary data , Joda block, Keonjha
District / Block / Village / Total enrolment / SC / ST/ OBC / Others / Primary data

Keonjhar / Joda / Dabuna / 366 / 88 / 179 / 99 / 21 / 300
Keonjhar / Joda / Badkalimati / 234 / 51 / 143 / 40 / 2 / 250
Keonjhar / Joda / Thakurani / 112 / 0 / 108 / 14 / 30 / 70
Keonjhar / Joda / Bolani / 480 / 26 / 397 / 0 / 11 / 350
Keonjhar / Joda / Tanto / 78 / 0 / 78 / 0 / 2 / 100
Keonjhar / Joda / Khasia / 143 / 22 / 99 22 / 2 / 600*
Keonjhar / Joda / Joda / -- / -- / -- / -- / -- / -- /
Others=Repeaters, CWSN and Muslim
Note: Discrepencies in totals exist but the data is as given in the DISE report card
*There are two hamlets in Khasia. Primary data was taken from both hamlets together, but it is not clear whether the same was followed for DISE data.
Source: DISE report card 2008; primary data based on the opinion of the villagers and may be approximate figures.

Primary Level Information on Child Labour and School Drop-out in the Region

In every village, as given in Table 2.33 not less than 50 children are involved in daily wage labour activities. Although there are gaps between number of school drop-outs and number of child labourers, this could be because it also includes children below 6 years of age and some of the children may be staying at home, and not working on a regular basis. Table 2.33 gives information on child labour and school drop-outs in villages visited in Keonjhar.

Children working at roadside dabha near Khasia mining site, Keonjhar (Photo July 2009)

Table 2.33: Data on child labour and school drop-out, Keonjhar
Name of the village / Child labour in mining/other sectors / School drop-outs
-- / Male / Female / --

Bolani / 150 / 100 / 150–200
Khasia / 100 / 50 / 250–300
Tanto / 50–100 / 50 / Data not available
Thakurani / 50 / 30 / 100
Dobuna / 150–100 / 100 / 200
BadaKalamati / 100 / 50 / 250
Joda / 150 / 50 / Data not available
Source: Interview with community leaders; primary data based on the opinion of the villagers are approximate figures.

Therefore, statistics clearly show that after mining activities have begun in the region, many children have dropped out of school and have been forced by economic compulsions, to work in the mines or as agricultural labour. Especially, as the mines are all around their villages, the access to daily wage labour, however low, creates a situation of compulsion for the children to work in the mines.

Tikarapada village has a primary school but there are at least 40–50 children here who do not attend school. In some of the villages like Tanto, Bodokalimati, Kasia people said that although the primary school exists, it does not function regularly, so the children go for mine labour work. In Thakurani people reported that there was no government school and therefore, the children are not going to school. In Salarapentha village there are at least 80 children below the age of 18 years who are under the curse of child labour as mining companies are located in the periphery of the village. There is not a single person from this village who has passed matriculation.

The school in Salarapentha is an example of the poor quality of education in this area. There is just a small room called a school building and the people reported that there is only one teacher posted here in the school. On the day of our visit only four children were present. According to the teacher at least 45 children are always irregular to the school as they have to work in the forest or in the mining activities due to the poor financial situation of their families. Table 2.34 gives enrolment figure for Salarpentha village.

The Rajabandha Primary School has children from Bhuinya Sahi, Santal Sahi and Janardhanpur villages were also enrolled here as it is the largest primary school in the area. The official document shows that there is no student drop out from the school but the headmistress of the school told us that according to her estimates at least 100 children of the surrounding villages were not attending school and that these children have to support their families in economic activities. The school has a shortage of teachers and the ratio between student and teachers is quite high. Table 2.35 gives information on enrolment for Rajabandha primary school for the year 2009-10.

Table 2.34: Enrolment for the year 2009-10, Salarpentha village
Class / Total strength / ST Boys / ST Girls / SC Boys / SC Girls / Other Boys / Other Girls

I / 19 / 4 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 7 / 7
II / 40 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18 / 22
Source: Primary School, Salarapentha, Keonjhor

Table 2.35: Enrolment in Rajabandha Primary School, 2009-10
Class / Total strength / Total Boy / Total Girl / ST Boy / ST Girl / SC Boy / SC Girl / Others Boy / Others Girl

I / 52 / 34 / 18 / 30 / 15 / 4 / 2 / 0 / 1
II / 48 / 20 / 28 / 17 / 25 / 3 / 3 / 0 / 0
III / 44 / 24 / 20 / 19 / 17 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 1
IV / 43 / 24 / 19 / 21 / 16 / 3 / 2 / 0 / 1
V / 50 / 26 / 24 / 23 / 17 / 0 / 6 / 3 / 1
Total / 237 / 128 / 109 / 110 / 90 / 13 / 15 / 5 / 4
Source: Rajabandha Primary School, Keonjhor

Rajabandha also has a low cost hostel for ST students. It is a residential facility but there are very few students enrolled here. Table 2.36 gives enrolment in low cost hostel in Rajabandha 2009-10.

Table 2.36: Enrolment in the low cost hostel, Rajabandha 2009-10
Class / Total Boy / Total Girl / ST Boy / ST Girl

I / 5 / 4 / 5 / 4
II / 4 / 3 / 4 / 3
III / 2 / 4 / 2 / 4
IV / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7
V / 4 / 2 / 4 / 2
Total / 20 / 20 / 20 / 20
Source: Rajabandha primary school, Keonjhar

Anganwadis in the Area

Most of the anganwadis are poorly functioning and some of them are only mini-anganwadis. In Sarlapentha village, there are 59 children enrolled in the anganwadi centre, although only a small number attend regularly. Some of the infants are taken to the mine sites by their mothers as the anganwadi centre is closed for most part of the day. The anganwadi helper stated that atleast 30 children here are malnourished. A sample of the status of children’s enrolment and nutrition can be seen in Janardhanpura anganwadi centre in Table 2.37 and Table 2.38. Table 2.39 gives the age group and total number of children in the Janardhanpur anganwadi

Table 2.37: Enrollment in the anganwadi centre 2009-10, Janardhanpur
Category of the children / Total children / Boy / Girl

ST / 48 / 25 / 23
SC / 2 / 0 / 2
General / 0 / 0 / 0
Source: Anganwadi centre, Janardhanpur

Table 2.38: Nutritional status of children in Janardahnpur anganwadi 2009-10
Grade Total children

Grade I / 31
Grade II / 3–5
Grade III / 10–12
Grade IV / 02
Source: Anganwadi centre, Janardhanpur

Table 2.39: Age group of the children in Janardhanpur anganwadi 2009-10
Age group / Total no. of children

0–6 month / 7
6 month–3 years / 24
3–6 year / 19
Source: Anganwadi centre, Janardhanpur

The reasons for this skewed status of children in the area, whether there is mining or no mining, is because of the feudal nature of the economic situation where most of the families are landless agricultural or mining labour while a small minority is in control of the majority land.

Iron ore being loaded in Badakalamati area, Keonjhar (Photo July 2009)

Impacts of Mining on the Environment and Implications on Health of the Community and Children

It was very evident that there was serious air and water pollution in the entire belt of Joda and Barbil. Environmental degradation is perceptible through the reduced forest cover as forests have been cut down, both legally and illegally, for the purpose of mining. In a day, atleast 60,000 trucks run through the Joda and Barbil region with loaded ore, to different parts of the state, leading to severe dust pollution, apart from social problems. The main rivers of this region, Baitarani and Brahmani, are highly polluted and have reduced flow. There is no safe drinking water for the villages in this region as the water sources and canals are contaminated by the pollution from the companies. Almost all the villages visited complained of water pollution and the indiscriminate dumping of mine waste into the water bodies. The companies sometimes supply water when the communities protest, but this is very rare.

The most common diseases in the Joda area are waterborne diseases. In most of the areas visited it was reported that incidence of malaria is very high. The local communities reported that occupational hazards like TB and skin diseases are very common among the people working in the mines, particularly near Joda. The area lacks health care facilities both for workers and the communities. Many of the workers reported that cases of cough, cold and respiratory problems are high in the region. Most of the villages complained that they had no access to medical facilities.

Khasia village has no health services and has severe health problems like TB, malaria, malnourishment and several waterborne diseases. They have to go to the nearest town Barbil, for any medical help. In Bolani and Badakalimati villages, people also reported several cases of HIV/AIDS and STD. In Dobuna village people complained of skin diseases and heart problems apart from the above mentioned diseases. Tanto is one of the most polluted mining villages where people are suffering from all the above mentioned illnesses. Recently 12 people from the village of Madrangajodi were reported to have died due to TB and the villagers reported that 12–15 others are undergoing treatment for TB.

Opening Up Greenfield Areas to Mining in Keonjhar

The state government has not taken any action on the serious legal and human rights violations that have been constantly brought to the focus by media and NGOs. Yet, in a region saturated by mining, more projects are in the pipeline. Without proper assessment of the impacts on the area and especially on the women and children and the adivasi population here, the government has proposed to exploit fresh villages for mining. Some of the proposed areas are remote adivasi villages, which have very fertile lands where people have reported that three crops are harvested annually. These are villages where the local governance machinery is barely functional and the social and economic security of these communities is dependent on their own traditional livelihood and resources.

Keonjhar is a traditional feudal agricultural belt where majority of the people depend on agricultural labour and cultivation of food crops. The imminent threat to the children from the proposed mining is the danger to their food security and the shift from these proposed villages to mine labour work as is seen in the other mining impacted villages in the district. Almost all the land proposed to be acquired is either rich agricultural land with paddy cultivation or forest land rich in non-timber forest produce. In eight of the nine wards in Janardhanpur, the villagers are agitating against Sterlite, of the Vedanta group, which plans to acquire their lands. Table 2.40 gives information on land to be acquired in some of the villages by M/s Sterlite Iron and Steel Limited, part of the United Kingdom based Vedanta group.

Table 2.40: Land to be acquired for M/s Sterlite Iron and Steel Limited
Name of village / Total families / Land to be acquired/ percentage / No. of families proposed to be displaced

Tikarapada / 370 / 600 acres/33 / 84
Mahadeijoda / 383 / 270 acres/13 / Data not available
Siliguan / 393 / 73 acres/25 / 16
Singhraisuan / 15+ lower santal / 124 acres/99 / Data not available
Kadagarh / 282 / 440 acres/40 / 16
Gopinathpur 245 124 acres/31 16
Janardhanpur / 271 / 248 acres/35 / Data not available
Dhatika / 65 / 220 acres/91 / 29
Narasinghpur / 83 / 55 acres/24 / Data not available
Source: Village head, Rajabandha (figures are approximate based on people’s statements)

This is but one company that will acquire lands for iron ore mining. There are several others acquiring land legally and illegally for mining activities.


Mining in Keonjhar has completely destroyed the agriculture and forestry of the adivasi people. Keonjhar has been reported widely for mining impacts on the local community as well as children, especially on the impact of thousands of trucks that dominate the life and disturb the social fabric of the district. Yet, new mining projects are being planned with large areas proposed to be acquired. In most cases, there is no technical validity of acquiring such vast areas of land either for extraction or for processing. Neither are the companies having clear and technically sound designs for the proposed projects, with mine planning projections of each mine site. As clearances can be obtained in India without serious scrutiny of mine plans or social or disaster management plans, given the dysfunctional nature of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, mining companies are greedy for more and more land. Whether they will mine in their lease areas or simply gain control over land is a question that is yet to be answered. The overzealous approach to handing out land for mining projects has to be seriously questioned, when it has led to considerable levels of malnutrition and school drop-out among the children in Keonjhar who are now forced to work as mine labour. This is no indicator of a progressive economy when the status of children degenerates from their earlier living conditions.

(Acknowledgements: The case study, in Keonjhar, was done with the help of LWSI and particularly Mr. Subash Das. We have taken the help of Mr. Niladri Mishra, Mr. Santosh Kumar Das, Mr. Dayanidhi Marandi and Mr. Shiv Shankar Marandi to organise field visits to the villages in Keonjhar and we wish to acknowledge their assistance for this study).

Abuse of Children in the Media by Mining Companies:

Enter Bhubaneswar and one is swarmed by the billboards of mining companies-blinding one with their aggressive media campaign on how happy they are making the people, particularly the children of this state. Education, sports, good health, happy families, sound livelihoods, joyous celebrations-the messages are bold but largely deceptive. Using children in advertisements, especially where the affected children are, in reality, malnourished, out of school, homeless, starving, and working in the mines or elsewhere due to poverty induced by mining– is a serious indirect abuse of children’s rights. Such public image building through misuse of children should be strongly condemned.








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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

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Andhra Pradesh

State Overview

The total population of Andhra Pradesh in 2001 was 76,210,007 of which almost 70 per cent live in rural area. Of the total population 5,024,104 constitute STs and 12,339,496 are from the SC community.280 In terms of economic growth in comparison to all India and the other states, it is seen that the GSDP growth rate for Andhra Pradesh also rose beyond the earlier low rates during the last two and half decades. The growth rate of Andhra Pradesh was lower than the all-India rate but has been catching up with time. The average growth rate was 8.7 per cent during 2004-08. Presently, for the year 2007-08, the annual average growth in Andhra Pradesh is higher than the all-India average.281

Andhra Pradesh was among the very few states in the country, which experienced the Green Revolution, especially in respect of rice, in the 1970s. Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of the state. The share of agriculture is higher in employment and GSDP is higher when compared to all other states.282 The contribution of the non-agricultural sector to the total GSDP has been increasing continuously over a period in the state as well as all-India. It has increased from 50 per cent in the 1960s to 79 per cent in 2005-06.283

According to recent NSSO (2004-05), it is estimated that around half the population of Andhra Pradesh is reportedly working. Andhra Pradesh was the second highest among the Indian states in agricultural services, with 62.3 per cent of state population engaged in agricultural work284. Andhra Pradesh provides maximum employment in rural sector (13.14 per cent of total number of employed)285 IT is the fastest growing component in the service sector. At present, Andhra Pradesh is ranked fourth in software exports after Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The state capital Hyderabad is the major destination for IT companies286. Andhra Pradesh has substantial number of migrant population. According to census 2001, about 2.3 crore people, in the state, are migrants.

Andhra Pradesh remains one of the three least literate states of India. Total literacy rate of Andhra Pradesh is 60.47 per cent. By gender, 70.32 per cent of men and 50.43 per cent of women are literate. Literacy rate among rural women is very low, only 43.5 per cent of rural women are literate. Women’s literacy among SC and STs is especially low at 43.4 per cent and 34.8 per cent respectively. Sex ratio of Andhra Pradesh is 978 females to 1,000 males.

Vital rates, including infant and perinatal mortality rates remain high across the state when compared to other southern states, particularly in rural areas. Malnutrition, anaemia and the growing number of HIV infections continue to represent major public health challenges in the state. Malaria is considered as a major challenge. It is estimated that around 160,000 people are also suffering from TB in the state and the state accounts for 10 per cent of the TB related deaths in the country.287

HIV infection across Andhra Pradesh is also extremely high as it is estimated that the state accounts for around 22 per cent of the HIV positive persons in India. According to the estimates given by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), of the total number of 103,857 AIDS cases reported in the country till 31 July 2005, as many as 11,280 cases, accounting for nearly 11 per cent, are from Andhra Pradesh and so far, the state has recorded 739 AIDS related deaths.288

Nearly 39.91 per cent families in the state are below the poverty line, which is better than the all India average of 41.23 per cent289. On the other hand alternative estimates made by independent researchers show that the poverty rate in the state is closer to the all India pattern i.e. 26 per cent in rural areas and 12 per cent in urban areas290. The Sachar Committee Report 2006 provides different levels of poverty for different groups. In their estimates SCs/STs together are the most poor.

Status of Children

According to Census 2001 there were 17,713,764 children aged 14 years and under and 25,293,728 in the age group of 5-19 years, in Andhra Pradesh. Official statistics give the gross drop-out rate of the state as 43.03 per cent—42.62 per cent for boys and 43.46 per cent for girls. The government statistics of Andhra Pradesh reveal that close to a million children in the age group 6–14 years are out of school291. According to the estimation of Pratham’s ASER 2008 survey, 3.4 per cent children of the same age group are out of school and around 12.1 per cent children between 3 and 4 years of age are not enrolled in any anganwadi centre or pre-school.292

According to the Census 2001, there were 1,363,339 children aged between 5 and 14 and 4,504,471 children aged between 5 and 19 years working as child labour in Andhra Pradesh. Census report also shows that 11,660 children aged between 5 and 14 years and 37,586 children between 5 and 19 years are working only in the mining and quarrying sector and 7,760 children are working in hazardous occupation293. In Andhra Pradesh the total number of children covered under NCLP is 50,921.294

IMR of the state in 2005-06 was estimated at 54 per 1,000 live births and the under five mortality is 63 per 1,000 live births. Infant mortality in rural areas of Andhra Pradesh is almost double that in urban area. In the first year of life, girls in Andhra Pradesh face a lower risk of mortality than boys; but between the age of one and five, girls have a slightly higher mortality rate.295

Malnutrition is a huge problem in the state as almost half of the children show signs of prolonged malnourishment; 43 per cent of children under the age of 5 years are stunted. Children in rural areas are more likely to be undernourished and in the case of girls the likelihood of undernourishment is relatively higher than that of boys.296 High rate of malnutrition has also been seen among the children of migrant labours. Most of the children of the migrant labours are underweight and have spots on their faces.297 In Andhra Pradesh prevalence of anaemia among the age group of 6–15 months is very high (more than 70 per cent).298

Andhra Pradesh has a very high rate of child trafficking and accounts for 40 per cent of the total cases. 26 per cent of women or girls enter into the trade between the ages of 14–16 years, 20 per cent between the age of 16–18 years and 16 per cent before the age of 14. [299]

Mining in Andhra Pradesh

Almost all the important minerals are produced in Andhra Pradesh. These include coal, limestone, barytes, dolomite, felspar, iron ore, manganese ore, silica sand, ball clay, laterite and mica (crude).300

Andhra Pradesh is heavily mined as it claims the third position among the states in the country with a contribution of 9.1 per cent to the total value of the mineral production. The number of recorded mines appears to be fluctuating over the years—415 mines in 2006-07, 372 in 2007-08 and 406 in 2008-09301. However, the actual number of mines is likely to be significantly higher as illegal mining is endemic across the state. Between 2006 and June 2009 alone the Ministry of Mines has recorded 411 instances of illegal mining. Illegal mining is not limited to the iron ore industry in the Anantapur district but appears to be a common practice in several other districts of the state302.

There is no exact estimate on the entire area under mining or for the total amount of forest land diverted for mining in the state, but it is estimated that 206,250 ha are currently under mining and that between 1980 and 2008, 18,178.55 ha of forest land was diverted for mining303.

In 2004-05 alone Andhra Pradesh produced about Rs. 6,200 crore worth of minerals, accounting for about 8 per cent of the total value of minerals produced in the country. The value of minerals has increased significantly over the last two decades and the value of mineral production across the state at Rs.9,841 crores in 2007-08 was higher by about 14 per cent compared to the previous year304.

Despite huge profits generated by the mining industry, the contribution of mining to the state’s revenue remains little as the state collected about 864 crore as royalty from minerals in 2004-05 which accounted for only 3 per cent of total revenue receipts in the state. Half a million people are estimated to be employed in the mining sector, a number that is likely to be much higher if we consider workers employed in the numerous illegal mining sites305.

Youth help in loading activities at the quarry sites

Visakhapatnam district: Key facts

Total population: 3,832,336 (Census 2001)
Population (0–14 years): 850, 611 (Census 2001)
Literacy rate: Total 60 per cent; Male 69.68 per cent; Female 50.12 per cent (Census 2001)
Percentage of out-of-school children (6–14 years): 3.1 per cent (ASER 2008)
Percentage of children enrolled in AWC or pre-school (3–4 years): 98.3 per cent (ASER 2008)
Number of child labour (5–14 years): 51,536 (Census of India 2001)
Under five mortality rate (ranking): 153 out of 593 districts surveyed (Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh)

Cuddapah district: Key facts

Total population: 1,283,704 (Census 2001)
Population (0–14 years): 285,324 (Census 2001)
Literacy rate: Total 63 per cent; Male 75.83 per cent; Female 49.54 per cent (Census 2001)
Percentage of out-of-school children (6–14 years): 2.1 per cent (ASER 2008)
Percentage of children enrolled in AWC or pre-school (3–4 years): 86.6 per cent (ASER 2008)
Number of child labour (5–14 years): 312,391 (Census of India 2001)
Under five mortality rate (ranking): 92 out of 593 districts surveyed (Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh)

Chittoor district: Key facts

Total population: 3,745,875 (Census 2001)
Population (0–14 years): 791, 554 (Census 2001)
Literacy rate: Total 67 per cent; Male 77.62 per cent; Female 55.76 per cent (Census 2001)
Percentage of out-of-school children (6–14 years): 1.9 per cent (ASER 2008)
Percentage of children enrolled in AWC or pre-school (3–4 years): 84.9 per cent (ASER 2008)
Number of child labour (5–14 years): 46, 841 (Census of India 2001)
Under five mortality rate (ranking): 79 out of 593 districts surveyed (Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh)

Children in Stone Quarries

Nirmala, from Vaddi community in Chittoor district, is 9 years old and had to drop out of school while studying class IV. Both her parents were quarry workers. Her mother died due to TB and her father is too ill to earn a living. The family is now dependent on the son who is 16 years old and a daughter who is 15. The family also has to take care of the grandparents who are above 80 years of age. While the two older children work in the stone factory and quarry, Nirmala and her younger brother, had to drop out of school to take care of their father and grandparents and to take responsibility for cooking and other domestic work.

Source: Interview with family in T. Vadduru village, Palamaneru, June 2009

Teenager working in the quarry for the last few years

Minor minerals have a major role in the mining activities in Andhra Pradesh. The state has both major minerals like coal, bauxite, limestone and manganese. Particularly coal and bauxite are primarily in the adivasi belt in the northern and northeastern regions of the state while most of the minor minerals and quarries are found in the southern region of Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh. Due to the location of these quarries, the Rayalaseema region also has a number of cement factories.

"is study was undertaken as three micro level studies in Cuddapah, Chittoor and Visakhapatnam districts in very small areas where there are quarries, stone crushers and traditional small-scale mining taking place in scattered numbers. This study was undertaken by three local organisations who are working with the unorganised sector workers and communities in these regions as part of their larger community development work. In Cuddapah and Chittoor districts the areas covered under the study have witnessed mining activities for a long time now and where the mining economy and power decides the political power in the region. The area chosen in Visakhapatnam gives information about the increase in new quarries being dug up in order to provide construction material for the expanding urbanisation and housing that is happening all over India, causing a threat to agriculture and traditional land use. In all these instances, mining has serious impacts on children and the disintegration of support institutions for children is visible in this changing shift towards migrant labour and the increasing problems among communities traditionally involved in stone-breaking and quarrying. These studies look at the conditions in which children are being forced into the mine labour activities and the status of the institutional structures for children.

Case Study: Cuddapah District

In Cuddapah district alone there are about 25 different types of minerals extracted. Barytes, asbestos, soapstone and uranium deposits are found abundantly in Pulivendula. Also found are yellow ochre, white ochre, shale, dolomite, laterite, calcite, iron ore, black stone and sulphur. The study identified 10 large quarry companies working here that included Krishanappa Barytes, Rangarajya Minerals, Gandhi Company, Caltex, PVS Mines, IBE Sivaganga, Pratap Redday Mines, YS Mines, Tiffin Mines, Blue Diamond and other several small mines which are spread across the district. While a few mines only follow safety and labour regulations, many are reported to flout laws and also have illegal mines. Apart from these companies three large cement factories are also operating in this area.

The study was conducted covering 201 families involved in mining activities in Cuddapah district. Among these families, majority of the population belonged to the ST, SC or OBC communities. The quarries surveyed are 2 to 3 km from the mandal headquarters. Table 2.41 gives details of families surveyed in Cuddapah district.

In order to avoid problems of labour, most of the companies have shifted to heavy machinery and crushers and therefore, mining has become almost mechanised now. The few workers who are employed are migrant labour brought from far off places by the contractors. Small groups of workers belonging to SC, ST and Vaddera (stone-breaking caste) communities are brought by the contractors by paying them an advance, and made to live in makeshift tents. This is similar to bonded labour as the workers are completely at the mercy of the companies, having taken the advance. They work at different shifts all through the day and night, depending on the load of work.

Table 2.41: Details of quarry workers’ families and their children, Cuddapah

Mandal name / No. of quarries / No. of fatalities / Caste / Men / Women / Boys / Girls / Total

Chakrayapeta / 2 / 18 / BC / 18 / 18 / 7 / 9 / 52
Gaaliveedu / 4 / 26 / BC, SC / 26 / 29 / 27 / 35 / 117
Lakkireddypalle / 2 / 17 / BC / 19 / 23 / 14 / 13 / 69
Rayachoti / 2 / 14 / BC / 16 / 19 / 10 / 10 / 55
Chinnamandem / 1 / 9 / BC / 14 / 13 / 7 / 6 / 40
Sambepalle / 2 / 21 / BC, SC / 22 / 24 / 8 / 8 / 62
Ramapuram / 3 / 28 / BC, SC / 31 / 35 / 11 / 13 / 90
Chundupalle / 1 / 11 / BC, SC / 12 / 11 / 5 / 4 / 32
Porumamilla / 3 / 14 / SC / 17 / 19 / 8 / 5 / 49
Chinthakommadhine / 1 / 28 / SC, BC, ST / 28 / 18 / 23 / 30 / 99
Badhwelu / 2 / 15 / BC / 15 / 22 / 9 / 7 / 53
Total / 23 / 201 / 218 / 231 / 129 / 140 / 718
Source: Survey done by VRDS in October 2009

Problems of Mine Workers’ Children

Since entire families are brought to the mine site by the contractors, both adults and children work in the quarries. Both the husband and wife are working in the quarry the whole day and have no opportunity to take care of their children. Children grow up in the quarries and are therefore, exposed to the heavy dust pollution from the mines and crushers. They are vulnerable to mine accidents, blasting, and to noise pollution. In most of the quarries, the mothers complained how the children find it difficult to sleep at night due to the deafening noise from the crushers that are continuously operating.

Child Labour and Education

Children start working alongside their parents from the age of 7 years and get Rs.150 per day. Of the 269 children covered in this survey, it was found that only 53 were enrolled in school. However, the survey has limitations in data as the age group covered in this survey are less than 14 years of age. Majority of children who work in the mines are in the age group of 14–18 and these children were not included. Small girls as young as 6 and 7 years were also found working in stone quarries. The women stated that, by the age of 12 or 13 years the girls are married off by their fathers who select the sons-in-law depending on the amount of liquor provided to him. Therefore, young girls are completely bonded to mine labour from a very young age in this region.

As the workers are from migrant families and the quarries are located outside a village or town, the children have no access to schools or anganwadis. The temporary nature of the work also discourages the parents from finding a school for their children, apart from the financial need to have extra help at work from their children. Except for Galiveedu and Chintakommadine, the other quarry sites have an average of 20 children of different ages, and neither the institutional structures of anganwadis nor primary schools exist for them. None of these places were found to have NCLP schools as they are scattered in numbers. Some of the children are enrolled in their native villages, but as they are migrants, they do not attend the school for long durations.

Social Problems that Aggravate the Situation of Children

Mining being a hazardous activity, which requires heavy physical labour, most of the workers are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Discussions with the workers and particularly with the women provided the study with the following information. The mine owners escape from responsibility towards the workers and their families on the pretext that most of the wages are spent on liquor and drugs, and hence the poverty of the mine workers is because of their social habits. The migrant nature of work combined with the highly stressful conditions, also lures the workers into other addictions like gambling. In the quarry sites surveyed in Cuddapah, the most serious problem stated at every place, was the addiction to ‘mutka’-gambling, which is a highly organised racket with several political power structures reported to be illegally involved in promoting this. Therefore, because of mutka and alcohol, domestic violence and abuse on women is very high among the quarry workers, also because the men do not have the social checks and balances as in a village community. Children are continuously exposed to these social abuses and live in an environment that is insecure, both socially and physically.

TB and/or silicosis are the main health problems that were expressed by most of the mine workers. They complained that they become incapable of performing any tasks after 10–12 years of working in the mines and most of their life is spent in ill-health and medical expenses. In the area surveyed, 6–8 cases of HIV positive cases were reported among the mine workers in Vaddepalli and Elagallu quarries and three cases were identified in Devipatla quarry.

(Acknowledgements: The study in Cuddapah district was carried out by Mr. Vijaykumar of Vennella Rural Development Society (VRDS) as a part of the current study and his contribution to the same is acknowledged.)

Case Study: Visakhapatnam District

The quarries studied here are small-scale and between 6 and 20 years old. Anakapalli Mandal in Visakhapatnam district is a rich agricultural and industrial belt, close to the national highway. The quarries operated here are by local contractors and politicians who take hills on lease all around the agricultural lands and supply the stone to local stone crushers. The work in the quarries is mostly dependent on migrant labour who come from the surrounding north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, either seasonally or for a few years at a time. However, some families have settled down here for the last 10–20 years and continue to work in the quarries or maintain lorries and trucks. There are many other families also working in these quarries, but they are more seasonal in their migratory pattern. The quarry workers are mainly from Scheduled, backward and other backward castes who are landless and do not have alternate employment.

Child Labour

Child labour is both visible and invisible here because some of the children go to school and are enrolled, but they also work in the quarries. In Vetajagalapalem there are 13 children who are working in the quarries whose parents are all quarry workers or ply autorickshaws. Here most of the families have members who are also lorry drivers and ply lorries for carrying the loads to the stone crushers. All the children surveyed here said that they had to drop out of school, fully or partially, because of financial problems, death of their parents or indebtedness. They earn between Rs.300 and Rs.1,700 per month and work for 5–8 hours a day, depending on the work available. The children complained that they suffer from joint pains, stomach pain, weakness, headache, skin diseases and fevers. In the second site at Vetajangalapalem quarry colony there were 11 children identified as working in the quarries breaking stones. In the SC colony of the same village, 16 children in the age group of 14–18 years were found to be working in the quarries for the last 2 years. Some of them were earning up to Rs.3,000 per month. In Rongalavanipalem, there were 43 child labourers in the quarries, working as a stone crushers and truck cleaners. Here four children have completely dropped out of school. In Kundram, village of SC residents, 22 children said they work in the quarries, in loading, in stone-breaking and in truck cleaning activities. "ose who work in the trucks said they work continuously, 24 hours a day and there are no fixed timings, while the other children work for 5–10 hours a day. Some of the children started working after the death of a parent. In the second Kundrum colony 18 children were found working since the last 2 years. In Kunchangi village, 16 children were working and in Kunchangi quarry colony, 10 children. Some of them less than 13 years of age, were working after they lost one of their parents and were driven by poverty to take up work in the quarries. Almost in all the places, the children said they had similar health problems such as headache, fevers, body pains and weakness of limbs due to the heavy work of stone-breaking. Very few of the childrens have reached college level education as they are unable to concentrate on their studies while also doing such strenuous labour activities to support their families.

Table 2.42: Details of quarry workers’ children in eight survey sites, Visakhapatnam
Village / Panchayat / No. of children working in quarries / Age of child labourers / Whether attending school / Class / Reasons for working / Type of work / Working since

Veta Jangala Palem / Jangala Palem / 13 / 13– 18 years / Yes / On average Class VII-VIII / Poverty / Stone crushing, loading, truck cleaners / 6 months -3 years

Rongalavani Palem / Rongalavani Palem / 43 / 12–18 years / 39 attending school; 4 drop-outs / Primary level to college / Poverty, parents illness and death of parent / Truck cleaners, stone crushing, loading work, carpentry, cycle shop / Average 2 years

Veta Jangala Palem SC colony / Jangala Palem / 16 / 14– 18 years / Yes / Class IV–X, one ITI / Poverty / Labour work, stone crushing / Average 1-2 years

Veta Jangala Palem quarry colony / Jangala Palem / 11 / 15– 18 years / Yes / Class IX–X / Poverty, Death of parents / Labour work, stone crushing / Average 1-4 years

Kundram SC Colony / Kundram / 22 / 12– 18 years / Yes / High school / Poverty, Death of parents / Stone crushing, loading work, lorry cleaning, agriculture labour / Average 3-7 years

Kundram / Kundram / 18 / 13 to 18 years / Yes / On average till class IX-X / Poverty, parents’ illness, death of parents / Labour work, stone crushing, electrician tea stalls / Average 2 years

Kunchangi / Kunchangi / 16 / 13– 18 years / Yes / High school / Poverty, Death of parents / Labour work, stone crushing, agricultural work / --

Kunchangi quarry camp / Kunchangi / 10 / 12–18 years / Yes / On average till class VII / Poverty, Illness of parents / Lorry cleaning and labour work / Average 1 years

Source: Baseline survey done by SGVS, Visakhapatnam, 2009

There is not a single NCLP school in the surrounding area the eight villages/quarry colonies; even though, almost 150 children are in the stone-breaking activities. Table 2.42 gives details of quarry workers children in the eight sites surveyed in Visakhapatnam district.

Social Impacts

Although the violence and social disturbance is not of the king, as witnessed in large- scale mines or mining regions, there is a clear impact on the education and health of the children. Not only quarry workers put also local farmers are negatively affected as this is a rich agricultural belt. Due to dust pollution from the quarries and crushers, there is a perceptible impact on the crop yields. The farmers are complaining that agriculture is becoming unviable for them and that the marginal farmers are becoming daily labourers in the quarries. Hence, there is a visible impact on the local livelihood of the farmers.

Education is most affected as seen in the Table 2.42. The mine labour work and the constant fevers and physical illhealth have resulted in many children dropping out of school. Dust pollution has created health problems for children of the surrounding villages. The villagers complain that children suffer from cough, cold and bronchial infections.

Stray cases of accidents by lorries carrying stones, have been reported in the area, but the quarry owners do not take responsibility for major accidents. Minor treatment or first aid was given at the local PHCs when such accidents occurred in the past.

(Acknowledgements: The survey in Visakhapatnam district was undertaken by Society for Grama Vikasa Saradhy (SGVS) on behalf of the current study and as part of their activities with the quarry workers in the area of their work. We acknowledge the work of SGVS and its Secretary, Ms. K. Prabhavati who has conducted this survey with her team and shared the findings with us for preparing the Andhra Pradesh state report.)

Case Study: Chittoor District

Demographic Profile of the Region

A brief survey on the quarry workers’ children was undertaken in three mandals of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh, by Mitra Association for Social Services (MASS), which is based in Palamaner. Palamaner mandal is situated on the borders of the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and consists of 16 panchayats and 96 habitations. Baireddipalli mandal is situated in the borders of Karnataka state which consists of 24 panchayats and 102 habitations. Peddapanjani mandal is situated in the border of Karnataka state and consists of 22 panchayats and 302 habitations. This area was selected because of the presence of clusters of traditional stone-breaking communities and because of the work of MASS with these communities.

A mine worker’s child who dropped out of school to support her family (Photo July 2009)

Socio-economic Status of the Quarry Workers

• The quarry workers mainly belong to the Vaddi/Vaddera (stone-breaking caste) community and some of them belong to the SC community.
• Majority of the quarry workers are landless and depend on stone-breaking as their main source of livelihood. Some of them are marginal farmers but cultivate only seasonally, as they have only 1–2 acres of dry-land, and therefore, depend on the monsoons.
• When they do not have sufficient quarry work, they migrate to nearby cities like Bengaluru, Chennai and surrounding towns to work in the brick-making factories.

Nature of Quarry Work

Traditionally, being born in the Vaddi community implies that they have to continue the occupation of stone-breaking and working in quarries. Literacy levels, among the adults, are very poor–less than 25 per cent as per the survey of MASS and as most of them are landless. Stone breaking is the only occupation they are mainly involved in. Stone breaking is like self-employment within the unorganised sector. They are completely dependent on the contractors to supply them with raw material. The contractors bring the stones by trucks, to their village and dump them near the houses of the Vaddis. The Vaddi community works in informal groups of one or multiple families and purchase the raw material from the contractor. Again the workers are dependent on the middle-men who give loans or advances to purchase the raw material and charge a high rate of interest from the workers.

Children of mine workers–some work in the quarries and also attend school (photo July 2009)

When the study team visited these villages, the women workers reported that they purchase a truckload for around Rs.600 and 6–7 persons work together to break the stones. It takes them a week to break a truckload of stones, for which they get Rs 1,500. This is shared by all the individuals who work in the group. This includes mostly women and children, particularly girls who work along with their mothers. The age group of the children working in the quarry activity is between 6 and 16 years. They earn, on an average, Rs.30–35 per day breaking the stones. The contractors return to the village to collect the load again and this is supplied to the highways which are close to these villages and to the real estate industry. The workers say that there is an increasing demand for stone as the construction activities around the Bengaluru-Chennai region are rising at a fast pace. The men take up heavy work of making foundation stones and selling each for Rs.5 or they work in the stone factories as daily wage labour where they earn Rs.150 per day. A large section of male youth is also involved in this work.

Life of the Quarry Workers’ Children: Child Labour and Education

Poverty is the most dominating aspect in these children’s lives. Starved, yet working to make the day’s earning is the typical day of a child worker. As the work is mainly done just outside the house, the children are pushed into this occupation right from childhood. The economic situation being always on the brink of starvation, most children do not attend school or drop out whenever the family situation demands their time for stone-breaking activity. Adding to the family poverty is the poor functioning of the education system in the rural areas because of which, children do not have motivation to go to school. When the study team visited these villages, we found several children participating in the women’s group meetings. When questioned about the reasons for the children not attending school, the women stated that, although they tried to force their children to go to school, they keep dropping out because they do not find it interesting.

Therefore, we found a lot of anguish among the women who stated that they wanted their children to study so that they could prevent them from entering the stone-breaking occupation. But the children find the allurement of earning a daily wage very hard to resist, as it gives them a purchasing capacity at a young age. The women also mentioned that while the girls normally give their majority earnings to their mothers, the boys learn from a young age to fritter away some of their money. The older boys’ who earn larger amounts, start getting addicted to liquor and gutka.

We saw primary schools in these villages and also saw the efforts of the local organisation MASS, which had earlier run NCLP schools here but found it frustrating both with respect to motivating the children as with respect to well as the government to take education seriously. This is a clear failure of the education system in the country which does not impart quality education to the child, who prefers to work hard in the hot sun breaking stones, than to study under the roof of a school. It is a reflection on rural education in India as we found similar problems being expressed by poor parents in Karnataka and Rajasthan also, where they do not want to see their children sucked into the bondage of mine labour but are unable to convince their children to go to school. Only a few children were found to be going to the high school from these communities, but as the distance to the high school is far, this number is very small.

Health Problems

The study team also found that there were many widows among the mine workers—35 in Kothaindlu, 26 in G. Koturu, 12 in Sallavaripalli and nine in Gadduru. Around 203 women quarry workers, of the 1,321 women surveyed, are widows who have lost their husbands either to ill-health like TB or because of quarry accidents. "is was one of the reasons for children, especially girls dropping out of school and being forced to help their mothers to make a living. The average age of the widows did not appear to be more than 35 years reflecting the short life span of a mine worker and the occupational illnesses that either cause high mortality or prolonged illnesses that sap their daily earnings, pushing children into mine labour at a younger age.

Table 2.43 shows that, among the 1,248 children, 210 are working as stone quarry labourers and 544 children are not attending school in study villages in Chittoor district. The survey covered seven villages and among these villages most of the families are working in stone quarries. The total population of children studied was up to the age of 18 but the age of children attending school is only up to 14 years. Hence the age group 14–18 years not attending school has not been covered under this survey. There was not a single NCLP school found in this area even though children were found to be working in mining and non-mining activities.

Mine accidents are also rampant in these areas. Around 50 per cent of the children living in these villages, are not going to school.

The children from the Vaddi community and some of the dalit families are prone to several kinds of health problems, due to the hazardous and strenuous work from which there is no relief. Right from birth, the children are anaemic. The women said that they cannot feed the children with proper diet and therefore, the children are malnourished. They were found to be mainly suffering from anaemia, skin problems, malnutrition, body pains and respiratory problems. The women did not report to vaccinating their children except for polio drops. The habitations do not have proper sanitation. The Vaddi communities are usually located on the fringes of the villages with small crowded semi-pucca houses, without toilets, electricity or drinking water. Only some of the houses seemed to have electricity connection. Single mothers lived in poor huts or sheds. There did not appear to be any sewage facility because of which sanitation is poor and malaria is rampant.

Women’s health is of grave concern as they were found to be anaemic, malnourished, and the women said that due to frequent child-bearing and miscarriages (which were said to be common), they find it difficult to cope with the strain of breaking the stones. Among adults, both men and women, TB is a major health problem, and especially, the mortality rate of men because of TB is very high. Added to this, the women here are forced into unsafe sexual practices, both due to being widows and being seasonal migrants, and they suffer from the problems of STD and respiratory tract illnesses.

Table 2.43: Details of quarry workers’ children in Palamaneru area, Chittoor
Village / Kothaindlu / T.Vadduru/ G.Koturu / Sallavaripalli / Gadduru / P.Vadduru / Obulapuram

Total children’s population in village (0–18 years) / 205 / 333 / 126 / 104 / 109 / 122 / 121
Number of children working in mining activity / 12 / 70 / 35 / 40 / 19 / 21 / 13  
No. of children attending school (up to 14 years) / 138 / 170 / 57 / 15 / 19 / 76 / 71  
Daily wages for children (Rs.) / 50 / 40 / 40 / 30 / 40 / 35 / 40
Number of children and youth in non-mining labour / Mason-3, Factory worker-3 / Tailor-5, Factory worker-10 / Labour-10, Tailor-7, Carpenter-2 / Tailor-3, Labour-17, Carpenter02 / Tailor-2, Labour 12, Goldsmith-1 / Mason-5, Tailor-4 / Mason-3,Tailor-2
Source: Survey conducted by MASS, Palamaneru, 2009


The three micro-level case studies in the three districts of Cuddapah, Visakhapatnam and Chittoor were studied from the perspective of understanding the life of the children of mine workers and quarry workers. The three studies show how transient the life of quarry workers is, without certainty of work and without sustainable livelihoods. The sharp correlation to this economic activity is the presence of an almost equal number of children, working in highly unremunerative and inhuman conditions. Particularly in Chittoor district, the life of the children in the traditional Vaddi community is highly exploitative, with high levels of school drop-out both due to poverty and due to the poor quality of education. "is points a finger directly at the state responsibility in providing fundamental right of education since the enactment of the new Right to Education Act 2009. Merely setting up a primary school in these areas will not ensure that the fundamental right is met unless it is addressed with the quality and child-centred focus that it can bring in order to motivate the child to go to school rather than to the mine site. The fact that many of the children in the quarries in Visakhapatnam district are also enrolled in school is a deceptive reality, as most of them do not attend regularly or do not have opportunity for education that can see them through high school. The example of quarry sites in Cuddapah show that there is a need for urgent attention on how the state will meet the needs of these small numbers of migrant children, who, for no fault of theirs, are not living anywhere close to the child support institutions like anganwadis or primary schools. The need to provide education as well as a healthy habitat where they are not exposed to the pollution and made vulnerable to getting sucked into mine labour, are issues for several departments including child welfare, labour, health, education and also mines, to develop cohesive and coordinated policies that will effectively do justice to these migrant children.

(Acknowledgements: The study in Chittoor district was done in partnership with MASS, Palamaneru and we acknowledge the contribution of B.Sunanda and her team in facilitating the field visits and in sharing their information and work details with us for this study.)

Kids Being Trafficked from N.E. as Child Labor in Tamil Nadu
Friday, January 29, 2010 at 2:29:16 PM

76 trafficked children hailing from Manipur and Assam, used as child labor, were recently rescued from a home at Kulitorai in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district.

Prabhakaran, a member of the Child Welfare Committee, which rescued the children, said the young kids were forced to live in appalling conditions.

“Children hailing from Manipur and Assam regions were smuggled to this place to work in stone quarries. We traced them from a place named Kulitorai, all huddled in unhygienic condition with no proper accommodation and care. Many of them even did not have proper clothes. Fortunately, we could save them and now they are under the care of Sharanalayam at Tirunlveli,” he said.

TRI NE-as-Child-Labor-in-Tamil-Nadu-64323-1.htm

Mine trucks’ bloody trail
V K Rakesh Reddy
First Published : 15 Nov 2009 05:31:00 AM IST
Indian Express

ANANTAPUR: While Gali Janardhan Reddy, Karnataka Tourism Minister and promoter of the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) defended himself tooth and nail in the face of a snowballing political controversy over the alleged illegal mining of iron ore by his firm on Friday, the human loss being caused by the OMC seems to have eluded attention of all.

Statistics drive home the point –– more than 50 people lost their lives in the last three months in Anantapur district. Almost all of them were mowed down by trucks carrying iron ore. Not a single truck driver has been convicted till date and no truck has been seized either. Most of the trucks involved in the accidents, sources say, belong to the OMC.

……Another accident caused the death of a young girl who died after the Independence Day celebrations in her school this year. She was run over right outside her school by a truck carrying iron ore and died on the spot. ... le=Mine+tr ucks’+bloody+trail&artid=NFUxa/rkTX4=&SectionID=e7uPP4|pS iw=&MainSectionID=e7uPP4|pSiw=&SectionName=EH8HilNJ2u YAot5nzqumeA==&SEO=Obulapuram%20Mining%20Company
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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

Postby admin » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:15 am

Notes for Part II

1 Census of India, 2001.

2 Finance Department, Government of Karnataka, Highlights of Karnataka Budget 2008-09.

3 The Hindu, In terms of per capita GDP – Karnataka, Bengal fastest growing states, 9 June 2005.

4 Planning Commission, Government of India, Karnataka Human Development Report 2005.

5 Census of India, 2001.

6 Planning Commission, Government of India, Karnataka Human Development Report 2005.

7 Ibid.

8 NFHS-3, Chapter 12-HIV Prevalence, 2007.

9 Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 576, dated 21.10.2008, State-Wise Number of Out of School Children in India, as on 31 March 2008.

10 Statistics taken from Pratham, ASER 2008 survey, pp. 112.

11 Census of India, 2001.

12 Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2691, dated 9.8.2000.

13 Census of India, 2001.

14 Our Mining Children, 2005.

15 Accessed from, Compiled from the statistics released by: Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 3759, dated on 09.05.2007. and Lok Sabha  Unstarred Question No. 994, dated on 20.08.2007 and Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2415, dated on 03.12.2007, Selected State-wise Number of Child  Mainstreamed under National Child Labour Projects (NCLP) in India, till May 2007.

16 Planning Commission, Government of India, Karnataka Human Development Report 2005

17 NFHS-3, Chapter 9 – Child Health, 2007.
18 Ministry of Mines, Government of India, Annual Report, 2008-09.

19 Ibid.

20 Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Karnataka, Table 1 – Gross State Domestic Product,, uploaded: 30 November 2009.

21 Accessed at, Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 234, dated 20.10.2008. Selected State-wise Forest Land Diverted for Mining by Ministry of Environment and Forests in India (25.10.1980 to 30.09.2008).

22 Accessed at, Compiled from the statistics released by Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India, Selected State-wise Average Daily Employment and Number of Reporting Mines in India (2002 to 2005).

23 CSE, State of India’s Environment – Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, pp. 200.

24 Our Mining Children, 2005; and CSE, State of India’s Environment – Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, pp. 194.

25 Our Mining Children, 2005.

26 The Hindu, State should act against illegal mining: Jethmalani, 24 November 2009.

28 Bellary District Statistics, 2006 Sarva Siksha Abhiyan

29. Census of India, 2001.

30. Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2008-09. pp. 1. ... nglish.pdf.

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid.

33. Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2008-09.

34. Human Development Report Maharashtra (2002), Prepared for the Government of Maharashtra. pp.4.

35. Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2008-09. pp. 178. ... nglish.pdf

36. Ibid, pp. 209.

37. Compiled from the statistics released by : Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 100, dated 22.11.2006.

38. Ibid.

39. Census of India, 2001.

40. Assessing Vulnerabilities for Trafficking and HIV/AIDS Maharashtra – Draft Report 2005. Shakti Vahini. UNDP Taha Project. Pg. 7.

41. Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2008-09. Pg. 159. ... nglish.pdf.

42. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 576, dated 21.10.2008, State-wise Number of Out of School Children (6-14 years Age) in India(As on 31.03.2008).

43. Assessing Vulnerabilities for Trafficking and HIV/AIDS Maharashtra – Draft Report 2005. Shakti Vahini. UNDP Taha Project. Pg. 23.

44. NFHS-3, 2005-06.

45. Analysis by Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, pp. 201.

46. MLPC, Organising the Unorganised, Bahar Dutt, 2005; Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, pp. 201.

47. Ministry of Mines, Annual Report 2008-09. pp. 21.

48. Data accessed on; compiled from statistics released by the Ministry for Labour and Employment, Government of India. Selected State-wise  Average Daily Employment and Number of Reporting Mines in India. (2002–05).

49. Census of India, 2001.

50. Ministry of Mines, Annual Report 2008-09. pp. 21.

51. Ibid, pp. 10.

52. MLPC, Organising the Unorganised, Bahar Dutt, 2005; Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008. pp. 202.

53. Ibid.

54. Kulkarni, Madhura. Stone Quarry Workers win the battle for Right to Drinking Water. Oxfam, Australia.  cr/res03070701.pdf.

55. Times of India ( Pune ) , by Umesh Isalkar 18 November 2009.

56. Census of India, 2001.


58. Human Development Report Rajasthan 2008, Prepared for the Government of Rajasthan by the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur.

59., Net State Domestic Product at Factor Cost by Industry of Origin in Rajasthan.

60. Human Development Report Rajasthan 2008, Prepared for the Government of Rajasthan by the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur.

61. Ibid.

62. Ibid.

63. Ibid

64. Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Economic Sur, 2007-08, chapter 23, pp. 29.
65. Census of India, 2001.

66. Ibid.

67. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 576, dated 21.10.08, State-wise Number of Out of School Children (6-14 years Age) in India (As on 31.03.2008).

68. Ministry of Labour, Rajasthan,

69. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2691, dated 9.8.2000.

70. Census of India, 2001.

71. Pratham ASER 2008 survey, pp. 50.

72. Ibid, pp. 64.

73. Human Development Report Rajasthan 2008, Prepared for the Government of Rajasthan by the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur.
74. Ibid.

75., uploaded: 28 July 2009.

76. Human Development Report Rajasthan 2008, Prepared for the Government of Rajasthan by the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur.

77. NFHS-3, 2007.

78. Human Development Report Rajasthan 2008, Prepared for the Government of Rajasthan by the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur.

79. Department of Mines and Geology, Rajasthan,, uploaded: 29 July 2009.

80. MLPC, Organising the Unorganised, Bahar Dutt, 2005; Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, pp. 263.

81. Ministry of Mines, Annual Report 2008-09.

82. Analysis by Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, pp. 264.

83. Ibid, pp. 263.

84. Rana Sengupta and Sanjay Chittora, MLPC, The Sad Story of Child Labour in the Mines of Rajasthan.

85. Analysis by Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, 266.

86. P. Madhavan and Dr. Sanjay Raj, Budhpura ‘Ground Zero’ Sandstone quarrying in India, December 2005, pp. 7.

87. Census of India, 2001.

88. MLPC, Organising the Unorganised, Bahar Dutt, 2005.

89. MLPC

90. MLPC, Organising the Unorganised, Bahar Dutt, 2005.

91. Interviews carried out with mining communities in Rajasthan, July 2009.

92. Interviews with mining communities in Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, July 2009.

93. Interviews carried out in Gandero Ki Dhani village, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

94. Interviews carried out in Bhat Basti, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

95. Interviews carried out in Bhat Basti, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

96. Interviews carried out in Joga village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

97. Ibid.

98. Interviews in Jethwai village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

99. Interviews in Joga village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

100. Interviews carried out in Jodhpur district, October 2009.

101. One bigha is equal to 2,500 sq m in Rajasthan.

102. Interview with local farmer, close to Giral mine site, Barmer district, July 2009.

103. Ibid.

104. According to residents in Thumbi, the villages most affected are: Thumbli, Giral, Jalela, Khejadli, Sonadi, Vishalaghot, Badres, Gotia, Kapurdi, Bhonaniyoki  Dhani, Akali and Jalipaa.

105. Interview with residents of Thumbli village, Barmer district, July 2009.

106. Interview with residents of Jethwai village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

107. Interview with mine worker, Bhuri Beri village, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

108. Interview with mine workers in Jethwai village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

109. Interview with local farmer, close to Giral mine site, Barmer district, July 2009.

110. Interview with residents of Thumbli village, Barmer district, July 2009.

111. Interviews carried out in Joga village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

112. Interviews carried out in Bhat Basti, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

113. Interviews with child and adult mine labour in Kaliberi mining area, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

114. Interviews carried out in Bhat Basti, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

115. Interview with female mine workers, Bhuri Beri village, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

116. Interviews with child labour in Kaliberi mining area, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

117. Interviews with mine workers in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

118. Interview with nurse, PHC in Fidusar Chopar, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

119. Interview with nurse, PHC in Fidusar Chopar, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

120. Interview with residents of Thumbli village, Barmer district, July 2009.

121. MLPC interview with Salumber PHC, Morilla village, Udaipur district, October 2009.

122. Interview with residents of Jethwai village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

123. Interview with residents of Joga village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

124. Visit to Joga village, Jaisalmer district, July 2009.

125. Interview carried out in Bhat Basti, Jodhpur district, Rajasthan, October 2009.

126. Interview with female mine workers, Bhuri Beri village, Jodhpur district, July 2009.

127. Census of India, 2001.

128. Uploaded from; data from Central Statistical Organisation, as on 9 February 2009.

129. Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 234, dated 20.10.2008, Selected State-wise Forest Land Diverted for Mining by Ministry of Environment and Forests in  India (25.10.1980 to 30.09.2008).

130. Government of Madhya Pradesh, Human Development Report, 2007,

131. Census of India, 2001.

132. Accessed at; Data taken from Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 4530, dated on 24.04.2008.

133. Census of India, 2001.

134. Census of India, 2001.

135. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 576, dated 21.10.2008.

136. Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission, Government of MP; quoted in Government of Madhya Pradesh, Human Development Report, 2007,  difmp/mphdr2007.htm.

137. Pratham ASER 2008 survey.

138. Census of India, 2001.

139. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2691, dated 9.8.2000.

140. Data accessed on; Compiled from the statistics released by: Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 3759, 09.05.2007, Lok Sabha Unstarred  Question No. 994, 20.08.2007 and Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2415, 03.12.2007.

141. Census of India, 2001.

142. NFHS-3, 2007.

143. BBC News, Malnutrition getting worse in India, 10 June 2008.

144. Data accessed on; taken from National Commission for Women, 2001.

145. Ministry of Mines, Annual Report, 2008-09.

146. All figures accessed on; provided by Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.

147. Census of India, 2001.

148. Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, ‘State of India’s Environment: 6’, 2008, pp. 216.

149. Ibid.

150. Secretary, PKMS.

151. Government of Madhya Pradesh, Human Development Report, 2007,

152. District Factsheet, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Human Development Report, 2007,

153. Data accessed on; taken from National Commission for Women, 2001.

154. District Factsheet, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Human Development Report, 2007,

155. Ibid.

156 Census of India, 2001.

157 The Hindu. “Chhattisgarh posts 9.41 p.c. GDP growth”. February 23, 2008. ... 350500.htm.

158 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 45-46.

159 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 53.

160 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 45-46.

161 Chhattisgarh-September 2009, Prepared by India Brand Equity Foundation,, Accessed on December 14,  2009.

162 Ibid.

163 Ibid.

164 Ibid.

165 Economic Survey of India 2008-09. Pp. 263.

166 Ibid.

167 Census of India, 2001.

168 Data accessed on Source: Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 4090, dated 20.12.2005.

169 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 131.

170 NFHS-3 3, 2005-06. Pp. 438.

171 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 129.

172 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 126.

173 Data accessed on State-wise Number of Live Births Registered by Sex and Residence in India-2005. Source: Office of the Registrar General,  India.

174 Census of India, 2001.

175 NFHS-3, 2005-06.

176 Economic Survey of India 2008-09. Pg. 263.

177 NFHS-3, 2005-06. Pp. 236.

178 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 123.

179 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 91.

180 Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. Annual Report 2007-08. Pp. 53-54. Developed by the National University of Educational  Planning and Administration to track the progress of the States towards Universal Elementary Education the EDI was developed keeping in mind four broad  parameters of access, infrastructure, teacher-related indicators and outcomes.

181 Human Rights Watch. “Dangerous Duty: Children and the Chhattisgarh Conflict”. September 2008. Pp. 50.

182 State-wise number of out of school children in India, as on 31 March 2008, Source : Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 576, dated 21.10.2008.

183 Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Chhattisgarh, Chhattisgarh At a Glance-2002, Pg 22,, accessed on  14 December 2009.

184 Human Rights Watch. “Dangerous Duty: Children and the Chhattisgarh Conflict”. September 2008. Pp. 4.

185 Ministry of Mines, Annual Report 2008-09. Pp. 10.

186 Ministry of Mines, Annual Report 2008-09. Pp. 16.

187 Chhattisgarh- September 2009, Prepared by India Brand Equity Foundation, Pp. 33, Accessed on December 14, 2009.

188 Ibid.

189 Data accessed on; compiled from statistics released by the Ministry for Labour and Employment, Government of India. Selected State-wise  Average Daily Employment and Number of Reporting Mines in India. (2002 to 2005).

190 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp. 58.

191 Analysis by Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, Pp. 122.

192 Srivastava, Devyani, Mining War in Chhattisgarh, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, May 23, 2008. G:\Mining - PT\Chhattisgarh\Research\Mining War  in Chhattisgarh.htm, accessed on January 4, 2010.

193 Analysis by Centre for Science and Environment, Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, Pp. 123.

194 Chhattisgarh Human Development Report 2005, Prepared for the Government of Chhattisgarh. Pp 31.


196 Mr. Rajesh Tripathi

197. Central Statistical Organisation, as quoted in: Indicus, Jharkhand Development Report, 2009.

198. Indicus, Jharkhand Development Report, 2009.

199. All literacy figures are taken from Census of India, 2001.

200. Census of India, 2001.

201. Accessed from, Compiled from the statistics released by: Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 3759, dated on 09.05.2007. and Lok Sabha  Unstarred Question No. 994, dated on 20.08.2007 and Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2415, dated on 03.12.2007, Selected State-wise Number of Child  Mainstreamed under National Child Labour Projects (NCLP) in India, till May 2007.

202. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 576, dated 21.10.2008, State-wise Number of Out of School Children in India, as on 31 March 2008.

203. Pratham, ASER 2008 survey.

204. NFHS-3, Factsheet Jharkhand, 2005- 06.

205. Ministry of Mines, Annual Report 2008-09.

206. Government of Jharkhand’s website,

207. Centre for Science and Environment, State of India’s Environment: Mining, 2008, pp. 164.

208. PANOS, ‘Black Green: The impact of mining on the masses’, 2002.

209. Census of India, 2001.

210. Figures accessed on; provided by Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.

211. Indo Asian News Service, Jharkhand loses over Rs. 1 billion to illegal mining, 18 June 2008.

212. Ibid.


214. Unreported World, India: Children of the Inferno, Series 2009, Episode 7.

215. Ibid.

216. Centre for Science and Environment, State of India’s Environment: Mining Rich Lands, Poor People, 2008, pp. 183.

217. Ibid, pp. 184.

218. Infochange, Moushumi Bashu, Jadugoda: No expansion until promises are met, May 2009.

219. Alternative for India Development Jharkhand, Tribal Children Trapped in Mica Mines,, uploaded: 22 November  2009.

220. Ibid.

221. Census of India, 2001.

222. Planning Commission, Government of India, Number and Percentage of Population Below Poverty Line By States, 2004-05.

223. Industrial Growth and Status of Orissa,, uploaded: 5 September 2009.

224. Government of Orissa, Human Development Report, 2004.

225. An overview of development projects, displacement and rehabilitation in Orissa. Presentation made by Prof. A.B. Ota, Director Tribal Research Institute,  17 July 2009. URL: ... Project%20  SWOSTI%20PLAZA.Ota.pdf

226. ... 20Ch-3.pdf

227. ... mar-kujur/

228. Ibid.

229. Census of India, 2001.

230. Government of Orissa, Human Development Report, 2004.

231. Dr. N. R. Ray, Major Health Problems of Orissa, 24 March 2009, ... -oforissa-  831947.html, uploaded: 5 September 2009.

232. Census of India, 2001.

233. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 576, dated 21.10.2008.

234. Pratham ASER 2008 survey.

235. Government of Orissa, Human Development Report, 2004.

236. Ibid.

237. Census of India, 2001.

238. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2691, dated 9.8.2000.

239. Data accessed on; Compiled from the statistics released by: Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 3759, 09.05.2007, Lok Sabha Unstarred  Question No. 994, 20.08.2007 and Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2415, 03.12.2007.

240. NFHS-3, 2007.

241. Ibid.

242. Government of Orissa, Human Development Report, 2004.

243. NFHS-3, 2007.

244. Seventh Report of the Commissioners of the Supreme Court, November 2007.

245. Shakti Vahini, UNDP TAHA project, Trafficking and HIV Orissa, 2005.

246. NCRB, Crimes in India, Chapter 6, 2007.

247. Save the Children India, Child Trafficking, ... cking.html, uploaded: 7 September 2009.

248. Shakti Vahini, UNDP TAHA project, Trafficking and HIV Orissa, 2005.

249. Ibid.

250. Government of Orissa, Human Development Report, 2004.

251. Ministry of Mines, Annual Report 2008-09.

252. Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 234, dated 20.10.2008, Selected State-wise Forest Land Diverted for Mining by Ministry of Environment and Forests in  India (25.10.1980 to 30.09.2008).

253. Department of Information and Public Relations, Government of Orissa, Orissa Review, November 2007.

254. Census of India 2001

255., Orissa steel project back on track, says POSCO, 27 August 2009, ... 827_steel_  project.html, uploaded: 10 September 2009.

256. Prajna Paramita Mishra, Second Colonialisation: Mining Induced Displacement in Orissa, Research Scholar, CESS, Hyderabad.

257. Fernandes, W. and Mohd, A., Development induced Displacement in Orissa 1951 to 1995. A Database on its extent and Nature, 1997.

258. An overview of development projects, displacement and rehabilitation in Orissa. Presentation made by Prof. A.B. Ota, Director Tribal Research Institute,  17 July 2009. URL: ... Project%20  SWOSTI%20PLAZA.Ota.pdf.

259. ... mar-kujur/

260. Kumar K., Dispossessed and displaced: A brief paper on tribal issues in Orissa, Discussion Paper, Vasundhara, Orissa, 2004.

261. Prajna Paramita Mishra, Second Colonialisation: Mining Induced Displacement in Orissa, Research Scholar, CESS, Hyderabad.

262. Ibid.

263. Census of India, 2001.

264. EPW, June 15, 1996, pp 1533-1538.

265. Source General Secretary of NALCO Displaced and Land-loser Employee Association

266. Statement of the villagers at Janiguda.

267. Statement made by members of NALCO Displaced and Land Loser Employee Association.

268. Ibid.

269. Villagers from Janiguda and Champapadar.

270. Statement made by members of NALCO Displaced and Land Loser Employee Association.


272. Orissa Human Development Report, 2005.
273. Das. V 2001 Mining Bauxite, Maiming People, Economic and political weekly July 2001, pp- 2612-2613, interview carried out in Maikanch on 24th June  2009.

274. Statement of Bhagvan Majhi, Convenor, PSSP.

275. Interview with the ANM of Tikiri.

276. Meeting with Bhagaban Majhi.



279. Impact of Mining and Allied activities in Keonjhor and Mayurbhanj, LWSI, 2006.
280 Census of India.

281 Human Development Report Andhra Pradesh 2007.

282 Ibid.

283 Ibid.

284 Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2002-03, Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Planning Department, Govt. of Maharashtra.

285 The Financial Express, URL

286 Human Development Report Andhra Pradesh 2007.

288 Human Development Report Andhra Pradesh 2007.

289 Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question no. 2688, dated 8.8.2001.

290 Deaton (2000, 2001) estimates unit prices for different states for the years 1987-88, 1993-94 and 1999-00 using the NSS data.

291 Human Development Report Andhra Pradesh 2007.

292 Pratham’s ASER 2008 survey.

293 Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question no. 2691, dated 9.8.2000.

294 Annual report 2001-02, Ministry of Labour, Govt of India.

295 NFHS-3.

296 Human Development Report Andhra Pradesh 2007.

297 The Hindu, Andhra Pradesh, Monday 16 November 2009.

298 NFHS-3.

299 Human Development Report Andhra Pradesh 2007.

300 Ministry of Mines: Annual Report 2008-09.

301 Ibid.

302 ... an%20reddy.

303 Centre for Science and Environment, “Rich Land Poor People: Is Sustainable Mining Possible?” and Forest Land Diverted for Mining by Ministry of Environment  and Forests (MOEF) in India (25.10.1980 to 30.09.2008).

304 Ministry of Mines: Annual Report 2008-09.

305 Centre for Science and Environment, “Rich Land Poor People: Is Sustainable Mining Possible?”
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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

Postby admin » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:03 am

Part III: Summary and Recommendations

Almost every state and district in India has some kind of mineral extracted or processed. However, it would have been impossible for our team to cover the entire geographical area of mining or range of minerals whose extraction has serious impacts on the lives of children. Therefore, we chose a few sites in eight states that show clear impacts on children due to mining. These case studies could be, to a large extent, representative of many of the mining situations that children in India are suffering from. They provide a glimpse into the real life situations of adivasi, rural, migrant and other poor sections of child population in India that are impacted directly and indirectly by mining. These site-specific stories provide information not only of mining but also of the general development situation of children in these regions.

In most of the secondary data compiled from the state level child statistics, it shows that low child development indicators are most often overlapping with mining affected regions. This trend signifies the status and direction in which children of marginalised sections in these states are located today, which further substantiates the perspectives being put forward by most civil society and human rights groups—that mining has not contributed significantly to the development of children but rather, it has largely created negative impacts on children in these areas.

The primary data from the case studies reiterates this picture and also reveal a very bitter truth—problems are glaring but accountability is elusive. A large number of children in India face marginalisation due to state irresponsibility in delivering basic development services, and because of which large sections of rural, dalit and adivasi children are seriously suffering from malnutrition, illiteracy, starvation, homelessness and several life threatening illnesses.

However, for mining affected children, this is being exacerbated by a ruthlessly exploitative industry which is pushing this neglect into a situation of desperation where increase in poverty, landlessness, food insecurity are forcing children into child labour in mining and other forms of labour, exposing them to crime and violence, making them vulnerable to trafficking, chronic ill-health, and inhuman living conditions. Children of local communities, workers (unorganised, contract), farmers around mine sites were rarely found to benefit from mining in this study. The rapid degeneration in general living conditions and governance wherever mining projects came up has brought further deterioration to existing institutions and development structures like schools, anganwadis, PHCs or transport that are intended to meet the basic needs of children. Therefore, instead of improvement, the quality of life was seen to have alarmingly reduced to a struggle for survival for many children and their families.

Yet, the paradox of mining lies in the fact that the mining industry or the mining administration is not legally responsible for ensuring most of the rights and development needs of children. India boasts of several legal protections for children, with the Right to Education being the latest fundamental right. These laws are strengthened by positive schemes to bring children out of poverty and marginalisation, very few of which provide any protection or relief to mining affected children. Several other departments like the Women and Child Welfare Department, the Education Department, the Tribal Welfare Department, and Labour Department, to mention a few have to address the problems created by mining. This makes for an inter-departmental conflict of interest and leaves ample room for ambiguities in state accountability. In this process, the child is being forgotten.

Whose Child is India’s Mining Child?

The Ministry of Mines’ fundamental job is to mine. Many of the violations and human rights abuses that result from mining, especially with respect to children, are not the mandate of the Ministry to address. The responsibility lies elsewhere, due to which seeking justice for the child poses several obstacles.

In adivasi regions, mining has caused landlessness and depletion of forest resources. Children’s nutrition has been seriously affected by this displacement and depletion. For the Revenue Department, however, their task is to acquire lands because mining is a ‘public interest’ activity and hence, the health and nutrition of children does not seem to fit into their domain.

The Women and Child Welfare Department is responsible for providing supplementary child nutrition and to address issues of child mortality. But it is not consulted at the time of granting mining leases to protect the food security of adivasi children from being affected by mining. Their supplementary nutrition programmes, even if they are implemented (which most times are not, as seen in many of the case studies) are far from adequate to deal with the malnutrition and threat to child mortality in mining areas.

Many children were found not to be attending school due to poverty created by mining. The Education Department is responsible for ensuring retention of children in school and to ensure enrolment and attendance. However, the responsibility is shifted on to the parents who are treated as the main culprits for the children being out of school. But the mining activity or mining company is never held responsible for the school drop out rates or for the situation of child labour inspite of the fact that in every mine site visited, children reported poverty and indebtedness in the family caused by mining as the main reason for leaving school.

The reason for children not attending school is because they are forced to work in the mines as their parents are either dead or too ill to work. It is the responsibility of the Labour Department to address child labour issues. The Labour Department has been simply denying that there is child labour as was evident from the responses we received to the RTI applications regarding child labour. The Education Department has either been claiming that majority of children are enrolled or are being taken care of by NCLP schools. But the Census data, DISE cards of the Education Department itself and our own case studies in the field reveal that many children are out of school or working in different informal activities. The case studies also show that very few mining affected areas have NLCP schools.

We found that children of migrant mine workers do not have a decent roof over their heads and the mine site doubles up as their playground and house. Migrant labour is not directly the responsibility of any specific department in terms of providing basic development facilities. Therefore they do not have rights for housing or land. Children of migrant workers are malnourished as their families do not have ration cards and do not have the purchasing capacity to buy sufficient food from the market. These families find it extremely difficult to get ration cards issued to them by the Revenue Department as they do not have a proof of residence or a stable identity.

Water is a very serious problem expressed by the women as mining activities everywhere have depleted water resources and reduced the existing water bodies to highly contaminated cess-pools unfit for human or animal consumption. Our case studies found that water bodies were dried up, courses of streams and rivers have been changed, groundwater levels have fallen and in many places, the only water bodies left are the cess-pools of water from mine pits. Children in mining areas visited were found to be vulnerable to water and air borne diseases as pollution from mining activities forces them to either consume contaminated water or live without access to water.

In many places women showed their pots of dark and dirty drinking water, which ought not to be consumed. No authority is directly responsible for providing these basic amenities to migrant workers’ settlements. The local panchayat/municipality is not responsible for supplying drinking water, as the migrant colonies are not within their jurisdiction of governance. The Ministry for Water Resources is never consulted as a stakeholder when mining projects are sanctioned, so their role in regulation and protection of water bodies with regard to mining affected areas is almost negligent. Crisis over water not only has impacts on children’s health and hygiene in the immediate surroundings but has implications downstream to a larger region, whether with respect to reduced food security due to lack of irrigation for farmers or health hazards due to toxic waste in the waters.

Health problems of children living in mining regions were found to range from chronic to severe respiratory illnesses, malaria, dysentery and diarrhoea, birth deformities, mental and physical disabilities, sexual abuse—all related to pollution, contamination and vulnerability caused by mining. The Health Department does not have adequate data or records to either take action or provide diagnostic analysis of the health problems they treat and the pollution due to mining. It is difficult for affected communities or even individual patients to get accurate diagnosis as it is normally claimed that pollution is within permissible limits and that health problems are related to social malpractices and addictions of mining communities rather than associated with mining. Most of the case studies, however, identified several diseases, deformities and chronic illnesses among children, associated with mining, as reported by the parents and communities.

The most glaring situation that was witnessed in all the case study areas visited was the high levels of malnutrition among children in the mining regions. Majority of the children were found to be severely and chronically malnourished. Ill-implemented anganwadi programmes are far from adequate to address this serious problem of food insecurity created by mining. Coupled with this, the recession in the mining industry since 2007 that also overlaps with a sudden increase in the price of basic food commodities and fuel, has aggravated the malnutrition situation among mining affected children whose families are unable to purchase food to feed them. Neither did we find the NREGA programme, which is intended to guarantee employment, and therefore food, being implemented for more than 15–30 days in a year, in any of the case study areas.

Majority of mine workers are in the informal sector where the mine owners and contractors cannot guarantee sustained work or wages to the workers. Hence, the conversion of agricultural lands to mining activities, has led to a situation where neither mining is providing a regular income nor is agriculture, which has been made unviable due to a crisis brought by air pollution and water depletion from mining activities.

Adivasi children have been losing their Constitutional rights over their lands and forests when their families are displaced from their lands. The results of rehabilitation that we saw in Orissa and Jharkhand reflect the apathy of public authorities towards displaced persons. That the displaced/ affected have ended up in impoverishment with no means of regular livelihood or incomes does not seem to have affected the companies or the state as meagre cash compensation is being offered as rehabilitation in the new projects in lieu of lands being taken for mining.

The degeneration of social security due to an industry ruled by mafia, crime, corruption and violence was visible in all the mining areas visited. If one looks at juvenile crime, particularly in adivasi areas, one rarely comes across issues of adivasi children in conflict with law. Yet in mining affected regions, where the case studies were conducted, it was seen that even adivasi children are exposed to crime and are in conflict with law, which is a direct negative impact that mining has brought on the social fabric. In every case study area, women had a serious common complaint—that alcoholism dominates their lives and how it is destroying their economic and social well-being as no other facilities are as accessible in mining areas as liquor is. In most of our field visits we found schools and anganwadi centres surrounded by mine sites in their backyards where truck drivers and mine workers were seen to be gambling or consuming alcohol under the shade of school/anganwadi premises. Yet all pillars of democracy stand incapable and helpless in controlling this lawlessness and statelessness.

Thus, in the entire chain, the mining companies have shown little responsibility since accountability is voluntary and based on best practices of CSR. Child labour, for instance, is an issue that evokes global public conscience, and is the most tangible reality that is a non-negotiable human rights issue. This in itself is one of the most difficult to provide numbers or evidence to hold the companies accountable. In India the large companies do not engage child labour directly. Yet, most often they are dependent on supply of raw or processed ore from informal mines, contractors or illegal mines which are geographically scattered, activities are erratic and are mostly dependent on migrant labour whose numbers are difficult to trace. This was seen in Keonjhar, Bellary, Panna, Jodhpur and Sundergarh where child labour in the mines is a huge reality but the companies are elusive.

While conducting research for the case studies we found children openly working in several mine sites, but scattered in numbers, partially attending school and partially working. However, as there is no proper record of informal or illegal mines itself, the existence of child labour is nullified. The intimidation faced by children and their families prevents them from articulating their problems or giving accurate information. Although mineral stones like sandstone, marble and others which are exported, have started receiving global attention on child labour issues, there are serious difficulties on the ground to trace the routes or to trace the linkages between mines that use child labour and the companies that buy the products.

Similar case of state and industry irresponsibility were seen even where a precious stone like diamond is concerned. Children are working in Madhya Pradesh to find diamonds for local contractors. The Obulapuram mines and the child labour in Bellary is another clear example. The local contractors who hire child labour do not even make a pretension of hiding the facts. In Bellary they stated that they are immune from laws and regulations, which they flout openly because ‘it is taken care of ” by the Obulapuram Mines. This reflects the arrogant defiance to law as lawkeepers up to the highest levels of power can be easily purchased as stated by them.

In most of the EIA documents we reviewed, social impacts and rehabilitation promises of mining companies vaguely refer to indirect benefits to local communities and children as it is assumed that the local economy grows, thereby leading to local market forces entering with private educational institutions, hospitals, employment opportunities and consumerism. In reality what we saw was that these are not opportunities accessed by affected dalit and adivasi children but more so by children of the middle class and white-collar employees of the companies. More often, the fact is that the local children end up as child labour in the tea stalls, mechanic shops, hotels and other economic ‘opportunities’ and ‘benefits’ generated by mining companies.

Also, in every case study where large-scale mining projects were set up, the people stated that they were promised jobs and employment before the mining activities started, but later, hardly any persons from affected communities ever got jobs. Most of the case studies were also done in mine sites of public sector companies who are meant to be more socially responsible. It is over 30 years since the NALCO bauxite project was begun. In these 30 years the data from the case study reveals that there has been little upward mobility for the children of the affected families, either educationally or economically. This is the fate of those affected by a public sector project where social responsibility is intended to be the principal agenda. There does not appear to be a single mining project that has fulfilled the rehabilitation promises in a manner that has improved the life of the affected communities or that could set a precedent for a best practice that the government can set as a pre-condition to private mining companies. More so, there has been no assessment or stock taking of the status of rehabilitation especially with regard to the status of children. With India’s thrust for the future being privatisation of mining projects, for sustainable mining to be implemented with seriousness, best practices have to be more forthcoming from the public sector and the looming gaps that exist in the law and regulatory mechanisms have to be plugged.

Yet, the new projects proposed in Kasipur and Lanjigarh by private and global mining companies like Vedanta/Sterlite, whose human rights records in earlier projects across the world, do not set a precedent for socially responsible mining, justify the suspicion and strong opposition from communities and the civil society. The corporate induced conflicts and state of terror in these regions, particularly in Orissa, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand were visible all through the study where data collection was interrupted several times due to strikes, bandhs, non cooperation of local communities due to fear of police and industry repercussions, and the inability to travel without fear of violence. It is of greater concern that the adivasi children are being thrown out of the Scheduled Areas (as seen from the migration in Damanjodi, Panna and other tribal areas after mining activities began) and these areas are being thrown open to multinationals, against the laws of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution and the verdict given in the Samatha Judgement. Hence, the adivasi children of today stand to lose their Scheduled Area ownership and protection as their lands are allowed to slip into the hands of the private mining industries. This is the most brutal state injustice to adivasi children.

These case studies are not stories but the real life facts of not scattered or obscure numbers- these are a few million mining children in India. And we are no closer to our MDGs that we have set for our country to fulfil the needs of our children, than when we started. This is because our development policies work inversely to our goals, and as the state overviews presented along with the case studies demonstrates, growth indicators for the marginalised children are shockingly low, in each of the mining affected districts. This inverse-ness of the development trajectory contributed significantly by mining, is only making the situation worse for children in the mining regions and for the government to meet its targets.

Therefore, a lot depends on the political will, public accountability and bureaucratic transparency. A lot also depends on a nation’s conscience. We hope that the case studies here can help evoke a glimmer of this conscience. We also hope that the case studies can help us explore legally binding mechanisms for addressing the issues concerning children and help review the current policies that directly or indirectly affect them, and what institutional mechanisms can be lobbied for, in order to protect the children.


Children live in families and communities. It therefore becomes difficult to isolate the impacts of any particular issue on children without also dwelling on impacts on the environment in which they live and the family and communities to which they belong. And yet it is also critical to identify the specific impacts on children themselves also to gain an understanding of what specific measures may be required to address their particular needs. #e recommendations arising out of the report are therefore addressed to all the concerned departments and ministries.

Over-arching recommendations on children

Children live in families and communities. It therefore becomes difficult to isolate the impacts of any particular issue on children without also dwelling on impacts on the environment in which they live and the family and communities to which they belong. And yet it is also critical to identify the specific impacts on children themselves also to gain an understanding of what specific measures may be required to address their particular needs. #e recommendations arising out of the report are therefore addressed to all the concerned departments and ministries.

Over-arching recommendations on children

• The governments must recognise that children are impacted by mining in a number of ways, and these impacts must be considered and addressed at all stages of the mining cycle.
• The biggest problem that mining children face is that they do not ‘belong’ to any one ministry or department. While the Ministry of Mines is the prime mover of mining projects and responsible for violation of their rights, it is not directly responsible for children whose concerns in the present governance structure are the responsibility of several other departments in the State and Ministries in the Centre like Education, Women and Child Welfare/ Development, Labour, Tribal and Social Welfare, Health and Police etc. It is essential that all ministries and departments to address their concerns and ensure convergence at the legal and policy level as well of services to ensure justice to the mining child.
• There is a large section of children, under the age of 18 years, working in the most hazardous mining activities in India, and there should be official acknowledgement of this problem. #e governments and society can no longer live in denial regarding the existence of children in labour in mines.
• There is need to examine all the concerned laws and amend them wherever needed to address the specific needs of mining children.
o The National Miner Policy 2008 states that the guiding principle shall be that a ‘miner shall leave the mining area in better ecological shape than he found it’. In the context of the child, the definition of ecology should include all human-ecology aspects. Further, the government should not, in the guise of an “enabler”, abdicate its fundamental responsibilities to children in mining areas. Especially in the case of Scheduled Areas, the state must take the principal responsibility for all aspects of mining projects and should not transfer this responsibility to private players. #e problems of children in mining areas cannot be treated in isolation and has to be placed in the Policy, Programme and Project contexts.
o In mining situations many laws and policies come into force regarding land acquisition, rehabilitation, environment, pollution, forests, mining processes etc. Some already exist and others are being considered. #ey seldom reflect children’s concerns and needs. It is essential to mainstream child rights concerns into policies, amendments to the existing laws on mining and those that are being proposed by the respective ministries, whether with regard to the Rehabilitation Bill, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Bill, the Social Security Bill, the Land Acquisition Bill, to name a few.
o In the context of child labour, the Mines Act, 1952 and its Amendment Act 1983 defines a child as anyone under 18, which is in harmony with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act, 2000 (Amendment 2006). However, both the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986 (CLPRA) and even the Mines Act (1983) allows for children below the age of 18 years to work in mining.306 Given the extreme hazardous nature of the activity, the Mines Act, 1952 and the Mines (Amendment) Act, 1983 must be amended. This should ensure that children below 18 years of age are not working in the mines. The Act should also be amended to ensure that the “loop-hole” clause, which allows the employment of trainees and apprentices from the age of 16, is removed.
• There is a need for linking the existing child protection institutions, particularly the State Commissions for Protection of Child rights as well as the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights with children affected by mining.

Recommendations for Specific Ministries

Ministry of Women and Child Development

• To address the high levels of malnourishment, hunger and food insecurity in mining areas, as has been found in this study, and in keeping with the Supreme Court Orders in the Right to Food Case,307 it is essential to undertake stock taking of implementation of ICDS project in mining areas.
• Migrant children of mine workers are an important section of child population who currently do not receive any institutional support under ICDS. Therefore, innovative programmes need to be developed to ensure ICDS programmes reach out to children of migrant families.
• Specific recommendations as given under section on pre-conditions to mining need to be dove-tailed into the Ministry’s policies and laws.
• As the Ministry of Women and Child Development gets into the act of signing MOUs with the states for implementation of its flagship scheme on child protection called the ICPS — Integrated Child protection Scheme, it must prioritise on vulnerable areas such as the mining areas. The aim of the scheme is to reduce vulnerability as much as to provide protection to children who fall out of the social security and safety net.
• It is essential to implement the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 to address the condition of the children in mining areas in a manner relevant to their specific situations:
o The institutional structures for providing protection to these children in mining areas have to be strengthened in order to bring stronger monitoring on players exploiting the children and to provide institutional support to, especially the migrant communities of mine workers who have no other grievance redressal mechanisms or support structures for protection of their children.
o The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Amendment Act of 2006 is most applicable to children in mining areas—children working in the mines, child labour in other sectors because of impoverishment created by mining, and children living in mining areas are vulnerable to the exploitation and crime rampant in mining areas.
o There is need for extending the support (in a more focussed way) by the Juvenile Justice Boards, the Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and the State Juvenile Police Units to adivasi children in areas where displacement and landlessness has led to their exploitation or brought them in conflict with law.
o The CWCs should be part of the monitoring committees that regularly assess the impacts on children and monitor the implementation of conditions agreed upon by the mining companies. In mining areas, as crime and vulnerability is high, the CWCs should be better equipped with manpower and resources at their disposal to ensure protection.

Ministry of Human Resource Development

• Free and Universal Compulsory Elemental Education is a right for all children. Recognising their special situation and having paid the price for “development”, the government must ensure that children in mining affected areas, rehabilitated, displaced and migrant communities, are especially targeted to receive accessible and quality education. Number, quality and reach of primary and elementary schools, including infrastructure and pedagogic inputs, have to be adequately scaled up.
• Right to education also means right to "equal and quality education”. The Ministry must move from the current method of temporary, ad hoc and para-teacher form of running schools to a more planned, permanent and sustainable education of children in mining affected areas, same as what is available to children of officials in the mining colonies.

Ministry of Labour

• The lucunae in the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 with respect to children working in mines must be addressed by amending the law must be addressed to include all mining operations in Schedule of Prohibited Occupations under Schedule A of Act.308
• The Ministry of Labour claims "elimination of child labour is the single largest programme in this Ministry’s activities”309, and yet so far its efforts at addressing the situation of child labour in the mines have been inadequate. The National Child Labour Programme (NCLP) must be extended to all children working in mines, which means it must be upgraded substantially in terms of numbers, financial allocations and quality of delivery as well as monitoring.
• Mainstreaming of all children attending NCLP schools into regular schools is mandatory and this must be ensured from children rescued from labour in mines.
• Regular visits by the Labour Inspectors with mandatory submission of their reports, is a must to monitor and address the child labour situation.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

• There must be a comprehensive assessment of the health impacts on children living and working in mining areas.
• Considering the high levels of environmental pollution and occupational diseases as a result of mining the Ministry needs to have delivery services that will address critical child health and mortality issues.
• Periodic health assessment as per defined indicators that provide early warning, preventive and mitigative measures should be a continuous intervention.
• Special attention to children and their parents with chronic and long term health problems arising out of mining activities, related pollution, contamination, toxicity, disappearance of resources like water bodies that have affected the nutrition and food security of the communities, etc
• Specific recommendations as given under section on pre-conditions to mining need to be dove-tailed into the Ministry’s policies and laws.

Legal and policy recommendations to the Ministry of Mines and other Ministries

The following recommendations are directed to the Ministry of Mines are also recommended for incorporation into respective laws and policies of all the concerned ministries and state institutions that exist for the protection of children.

Pre-conditions (specific to protection of children’s rights) for getting a mining lease:

• The MMDR Act is an Act stated to undertake mining and use of minerals in a ‘scientific’ manner. The rules laid under this Act mainly relate to mine planning, processes of mining, the nature of technology, procedures and eligibility criteria for obtaining mining leases and all aspects related to mines. It does not give significant reference to the manner in which mining is to take place, from the social context, except for some broad guidelines in terms of environment, rehabilitation and social impacts. Given the huge negative impacts of mining on children, specific pre-conditions should be clearly laid out prior to granting of mining leases, where mining companies have to indicate concrete actions for the development and protection of children. In order to undertake responsible mining, unless some of the following social impacts and accountability particularly with regard to children, are incorporated within the Act and the Mine Plan, violation of children’s rights will continue in mining areas.
• The proposed amendment should have, apart from technical specifications on how to mine and procedures to obtain licences and leases, eligibility criteria and preconditions in terms of standards, responsibilities, socioecological rehabilitation mechanisms, clearly laid out rules on penalties for offences, which are legally binding. These should include all the three stages of mining— prior to beginning the mining activities, during the period of mining and post-closure of the mines.
• Pre-conditions based on adherence to international conventions and national laws protecting children should be set clearly before the initiation of any project related activity on ground or clearances and should be subject to monitoring by civil society groups, workers themselves and local governance institutions to provide checks and balances. These should clearly state in the rules of the MMDR Act that mining leases will be given only after clearances are obtained from the respective departments like Women and Child Welfare, Education, Tribal Welfare, Labour, Health, Police, to name a few, with regard to partnering with the company or in directly providing institutional support for children of displaced/ affected/migrant mining communities. This is to ensure sustainable development framework in mining, which is proposed to be the basis of the National Minteral Policy, from the children’s perspective.
• Similar changes within policy and programme framework of other departments in order to incorporate these pre-conditions, so as to fulfil their responsibilities towards children within their mandate and jurisdiction of work.

Inclusion of children’s issues and concerns in mining activities into the three cycles of the mining activities at the time of granting mining lease:

Pre-Mining Plan:

• Lease/license to the mine owner will only be granted after a documented assurance that child labour will not be engaged in mining or any other related activity. If children are found to be working within the mining premises/lease area, the mine lease should be immediately cancelled.
• Every mining project must undertake a clear baseline assessment of existing economic situation, education, health and food security (both from forest and land) indicators of the pre-mining situation, and provide a plan for development of children and their families within the project plan and project costs (exclusive of funds diverted from government departments).
• The baseline survey will also include details of how mining operations will affect the existing resources, water bodies, cultures and social institutions to ensure minimum impact and replacement.
• The mining plan must indicate how it plans to address and ensure that education, health, nutrition levels, safety or economic development will be achieved, over and above the existing status, based on the baseline survey undertaken.
• Details of how the mining project will improve the existing economic and development status of the communities in very direct terms (currently, indirect benefits are deemed to accrue to communities as normally mentioned in EIA documents).
• Rehabilitation must be an integral part of the lease agreement and the Rehabilitation Plan should clearly specify the impacts on children and the plan for rehabilitating them based on the baseline survey. This would include providing livelihood to displaced/affected families. Special attention must be paid to widows and single mothers with children mentally and physically challenged.
• Rehabilitation must be undertaken before the mining project begins in a time-bound manner. This includes decent and adequate housing with toilet and potable drinking water, supply of which is not ad hoc in nature, good quality schools within the rehabilitation/ resettlement colony, electricity, anganwadi centre with supplementary nutrition to pregnant women and single mothers.
• To address the concerns of alcoholism and violence that ensues forced evictions it is essential to have a written agreement that the company will not set up or facilitate the setting up of liquor shops within or near the rehabilitation colony.
• Infrastructure development in mining areas in and around the mines, beyond the rehabilitation colonies, needs utmost attention such as construction anganwadis, schools, colleges, health institutions both traditional and governmental, water resources, houses, roads and transport.
• Specifying the quantity of water, extent of forest and revenue land that will be diverted for the activity and permissions should be taken both from the Department of Water Resources as well as from the local panchayat.
• Company should provide guarantee that the mining activity will not be located near the school, anganwadi, water sources and health centre of the village.
• Only specified areas far away from the village will be used for parking of trucks and lorries and these areas should be designated before the clearance of the lease so that the children are protected from a socially threatening environment that is created by movement of floating population.
• Dust and water pollution will be mitigated through regular precautionary actions (which already exist in the law) but penal action will be taken if regular mitigating activities are not undertaken.
• Health check up and treatment should be provoked by the mining company both to workers and to the community, and results of the same should be available for public scrutiny at the office of the company and also submitted to the District Medical and Health Officer at regular intervals fixed at the time of the lease or provided in the Mines Safety Rules of the MMDR Act.
• Violation of any of these impacting children should result in the cancellation of the lease. Penalties should be defined for non-implementation of rehabilitation as per projected plans and assessments with recommendations made by the monitoring committee.

Mine Plan during mining phase:

• All the above promises are fulfilled as per time bound planning.
• Undertake a periodic/regular assessment based on the social development indicators developed at the time of Mine Plan with the involvement of all stakeholders including company, community, workers, concerned departments, child rights committees and NGOs.
• Submission of periodic reports and follow up actions in consultation with the local communities, PAPs and NGOs apart from the departments concerned and child rights committees.
• Free health services and hospital facilities for employees as well as communities around the mining project, particularly child health care facilities that address the pollution and other problems that result from mining.
• The mining companies must set aside a health fund that is independently handled, for the treatment of children who suffer from serious illnesses. The mining companies should compensate the children with health problems/ deformities/birth defects that are associated with mining activities. An independent medical certification of the same has to be provided for to avoid biased medical reports on behalf of the company. Some existing mining areas have been receiving reports of alarming rates of health problems among children—these hotspots should be identified and declared as health emergency zones and an urgent health intervention programme should be taken up.

Post-Mining Plan:

• Mine closure plan should include clear financial allocations and programmes for protection and development of children. For example, how the schools in the rehabilitation colony will be run post-closure and whether the company obtained sanction from Education Department for taking over of the schools and what financial commitments have been made by the company for this transition period and post closure.
• The post closure livelihood plan for workers and local communities should be specified so that children do not drop out of school to support their families (as is seen in Kolar after closure). The mining companies abruptly close down their hospitals and medical facilities leaving the township and resettlement colonies without any medical facilities.
• A withdrawal plan, which has formally laid procedures and permissions for handing over of these services to the public health departments with financial commitments during the transition period, should be a clearly specified document.

General recommendations

Small-scale mines: Further with respect to protection of the rights of mine workers and their children in small-scale mining and quarrying, the pre-conditions should include:

• The wages and working conditions of mine workers should be clearly specified and displayed for pubic scrutiny. Considering the hazardous nature of the mine labour, a proper wage should be fixed that ensures viable living conditions for workers’ families so that child labour is prevented.
• Workers should be provided with work safety gear, and individual uniforms (mining wear) that provides protection at work. Accident benefits and insurance should be specified at the time of the mining lease being granted.
• Women workers should be provided with creche facilities which is safe from mine dust and noise, has full-time caretakers, supplementary nutrition and women should be given breaks during working hours to attend to their infants while at work. Safe drinking water should be provided at the mine site for workers as well as for infants of workers who are in the creche.
• The workers should be free to unionise and voice their concerns.
• Standards such as 'Ethical Stones'310 which are not recommendatory but based on legal requirements from diverse laws should be clearly established and minerals/ products especially with respect to precious stones like diamonds, and masonry stones, granite and the like, should be compulsorily subject to certification by independent agencies that are legally bound for public scrutiny and judicial action.
• There is a huge potential for rationalisation of mining leases and also to cull poorly productive deposits and illegal mines without the need to acquire more and more areas. Details of land to be acquired, rationale for requiring the specified area, what non-displacing alternatives have been explored, clear design and working plans for the specified area proposed need to be provided.

Mining Children: Pragmatic Steps Ahead

1. The establishment of a state level and district level monitoring committee consisting of all the concerned departments that have responsibilities to protect the child, as well as independent civil society organisations to be involved in monitoring as well as grievance redressal. This should be formally recognised to represent these issues to the state and national child/human rights commissions and respective departments.

2. The Ministry of Mines has to evolve regional plans with appropriate local governance institutions (district, block) and the community with clarity in terms of quantity and quality of ore that will be extracted, the extent of area involved, demographic profile of this region, economic planning for extraction that includes number of workers required, nature of workers (local, migrant), type of technology, social cost including wages, estimate of workers and assured work period, providing (in the case of migrant workers) residential facilities like housing, basic amenities like drinking water, electricity, early childhood (anganwadis) and primary education with quality of education delivered, or in the absence of these, an NCLP school, toilet, PDS facility and other requirements for a basic quality of life. The resources for these must not be drawn upon from public exchequer but recovered from the promoter.

3. The public sector companies should set an example to first clean up the situation and redress the destruction caused to children and their environment in the existing mines with a clear time frame which will be scrutinised by the independent committee at regular intervals as agreed upon. The clean up should also state the budget allocated by each company for this purpose and provide details of expenditure incurred, to the committee.

4. A benefit sharing mechanism must be immediately established so that it is not restricted to immediate short term monetary relief, but should show long term sustainability of the communities and workers, including post-mining land reclamation and livelihood programmes that have measurable outputs. A share from the taxes or profits shared by the companies should be ploughed into these and CWCs for better functioning.

5. New mine leases should not be granted unless significant clean up and institutional mechanisms are in place. No private mining leases should be granted in the Scheduled Areas and the Samatha Judgement should be respected in its true spirit.

6. The National Commission for the Unorganised Sector which is proposing the new Social Security Bill should take into cognizance, the above legal and policy recommendations, particularly with respect to the migrant mine workers and include adequate social security benefits that directly support development and protection of children.


In order to earnestly implement the above recommendations and existing safeguards to stand in support of the mining child, the government should translate the policy and legal provisions into financial and man power allocations. Adequate resources have to consciously allocated within the central and state budgets for the institutional support programmes for children as well as for regulation and monitoring, these laws so that true implementation takes place.

The above legal and policy initiatives cannot be translated into action without strong advocacy and campaigning from civil society groups, trade unions, affected communities and workers and other human rights organisations. The need for convergence is also a huge responsibility for the civil society and human rights organisations in order to prioritise the rights of the child in mining affected areas. Unless a stronger pressure and lobby on the state players to implement the laws and to design policies that prioritise children’s development and protection and not justify the current economic models that are working to the contrary effect, comes from public vigilance and lobby, children’s voices from the mine pits will be difficult to be heard. We hope that this study will be used as a tool for campaigning by affected communities, NGO’s and human rights organisations in uphold the rights of the mining child in India.



306 The CLPRA does not prohibit the employment of children in all mines upto the age of 14 years and allows for children to work in mines beyond the age of  14 years. The Mines Act 1952 and the Mines (Amendment) Act, 1983, lay down that no person below eighteen years of age shall be allowed to work in any  mine or part there of (Section 40) or in any operation connected with or incidental to any mining operation being carried on (Section 45), it simultaneously  allows for children of sixteen years to be apprentices and trainees.

307 Website of the Minsitry of Labour. URL: (accessed 11 March 2010)

308 At present mining and collieries are the only forms of mining included in Schedule A.  

309 Website of the Minsitry of Labour. URL: (accessed 11 March 2010)

310 See appendix 1
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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

Postby admin » Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:11 am

Part IV: Appendix- Our Experience with Right to Information Act


As part of the process of information collection for the current study, we have tried to access information from various departments concerned with the problems and development of children in India. In this process, we made use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act by filing applications on different aspects of child rights in the mining context. We briefly present below our experience and challenges encountered in utilising this Act.

Some of the areas that we chose to consult with government for information were:

• Data on child labour
• Data on education
• Health
• Protection issues; water, housing, rehabilitation, trafficking, HIV/AIDS, forests and agriculture as resources of food security, and economic issues of the family like employment in the mines, wages, safety, other development programmes like NREGA.
• We also wrote to the public sector coal mining companies for information regarding employment, rehabilitation, child labour, forests, water and future expansion plans.

Challenges in the Process of Application

The RTI Act is intended to be an enabling tool for public scrutiny and active participation of the public in governance and vigilance. While the Act has facilitated in accessing information from government, which was earlier a Herculean task, using the Act involves several challenges and complex procedures that frustrate the applicant. Some of these challenges we encountered were:

• Discrepancies and lack of clarity between the ecentral Act and the different Acts of state governments.
• Contact details of Public Information Officer (PIO) are not given properly in many of the websites. Either there is no information available or wrong information is given wherein applications get rejected on grounds that the application is not addressed to the appropriate PIO; outdated information is available in many websites. Due to these factors, there are several delays where applications were rejected on grounds of omissions or errors and there were several delays in reapplying to the appropriate persons in charge.
• Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) asked money to provide information.
• Information regarding payment of fees is not correct in many websites, or it is not mentioned in the websites or there are discrepancies between states in procedure for payment. In some states, some of the departments are accepting court fees stamps but in some others, demand drafts and many of our applications were rejected on these grounds, again leading to delays in reapplying. We found that in most of the post offices, there are no acknowledgement forms available and some ad hoc acknowledgement slips are being used because of which we could not receive some of the acknowledgements.
• Most of the responses were not immediately helpful as the applications are simply directed to another section of the department or another level. Sometimes we were asked to apply to some other department for information as they felt it was not relevant to their department. This gives the impression that, instead of respecting the Act in its spirit, there are more attempts made by respective departments in disqualifying the applications on trivial grounds rather than making it an enabling Act. Sometimes state governments have asked us to apply to the centre and vice-versa.
• In some of the responses, the rules and laws were forwarded instead of giving facts on the status. For example, the rules for minimum wages, social welfare benefits, etc., were forwarded to us instead of stating the actual wages paid or specific benefits provided at specific sites implying that these broad guidelines are followed by all companies in their jurisdiction, without any definite verification from the department whether such rules were actually implemented.
• A very common response received from the labour departments of different states was that there was no child labour reported, which was an outright denial that there were any children, sometimes even women, working in the mines. This shows that there is no seriousness in reporting cases of child labour.

Table 2.44 presents some of the applications and the responses received.

Table 2.44: Details of some applications and responses received to queries filed under RTI Act

Questions asked under RTI Act 2005

Labour Departments

1. Total number of women and children working at different mines (sex disaggregated and mineral sectorwise data).

2. Minimum wages for mine workers, working hours, health facilities and benefits for mine workers education and crèche, housing, water, sanitation facilities, social security, accident benefits.

3. Number of complaints received regarding the status of child labour and women workers working in the mines and action taken so far.

Responses received


• No women and children are working in the stone quarry areas in administrative jurisdiction of the office of Assistant Labour Commissioner (Central)-III Mumbai, Thane district, Raigad district and Mumbai northeast area.
• Wage rate: As per Minimum Wages Act.
• Complaints accepted by the department can be treated as nil.


• No women and children are working in the mining and stone quarry areas.
• Wage rate: As per Minimum Wages Act.
• Complaints accepted by the department can be treated as nil.


• Wage rate: As per Minimum Wages Act
• In Angul district, health facilities and benefits for mine workers are provided as per labour laws, they provide first-aid facilities including treatment in their dispensaries to the women workers, education facilities, crèches, rest rooms available at the mine sites for workers, drinking water, sanitation and housing facilities are provided to the mine workers and in case of compensation it is provided according to the Workmen Compensation Act.
• In Barbil, no information regarding employment of children in mines is available in the office. Number of women employed in iron sector is 650 and manganese sector is 600. No accident case has been reported and no complaints have been received regarding hazardous work, working hours.
• In Sundergarh district, no child labour is in mines. Approximately 5,000 women are engaged in mines and stone quarries. All mines have their own creche, rest room for workers. Fifty per cent mine workers provided accommodation at the site. Housing loan provided by welfare department.

Andhra Pradesh

• No children found working in mining and stone quarry areas. Approximately 550 women in manganese mine, three in phosphorus mine, 10 in sand mine and 1,200 women working in stone quarries.
• Wage rate: As per Minimum Wages Act
• No information available regarding health, housing education, social security and other facilities.
• Not received any complaints regarding work safety.

Jharkhand (Dhanbad)

• No women and children working in mines
• Wage rate: As per Minimum Wages Act.
• Not received any complaints so far regarding hazardous work, status of child labours and women workers.

Ministry of Labour (Central)

• Seventy-nine women found working in mines during inspection conducted in last 3 years. No child labour found employed/working in mines.
• Not received any complaints regarding hazardous work status of child labours and women workers.

Chattisgarh (Raipur)

• 184 women but no children working in mine and quarry site.
• Wage rate: As per Minimum Wages Act, no other available.
• Not received any complaints regarding hazardous work status of child labours and women workers.

Karnataka (Bellary)

• As per Deputy Commissioner of Bellar, 103 child labourers were found in Bellary and 62 in Sandur taluk working in open mine areas.

Madhya Pradesh

• No acknowledgement received so far

Questions asked under RTI Act 2005

Health and Family Welfare Departments

1. Total number of reported silicosis and TB cases

2. IMR

3. Total reported HIV/AIDS cases

4. Information regarding total number of reported trafficking cases of women and children.

Responses received

Tamil Nadu

• Total number of reported TB cases: 3,701 in the year 2008 and 1,904 in the year of 2009 in Cuddalore district.
• Number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in Tamil Nadu is 517 and 191 in Cuddlore district.
• No case reported under trafficking of women and children in Cuddalore district, Virudhachalam subdivision, Neyveli sub-division and Tittagudi subdivision.
• IMR of Cuddalore block is 22.6.


• Total number of reported TB cases in North Goa: 4,848.
• Number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in North Goa: 634 (2005-09).

Andhra Pradesh

• Total number of rescued trafficked victims who are given financial relief at the rate of Rs. 10,000 each in Chittoor district in year 2008-09 are six. In Kurnool, Cuddappah and Visakhapatnam districts no report has been received.
• Total reported HIV/AIDS case in Chittoor district 18,228, Cuddapah district 8,904, Kurnool district 14,646 and in Visakhapatnam district 23,143 till October 2009.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Department

• Replied asking us to forward the application to Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR)


• Replied asking us to forward the application to National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOH).


• Replied that questions are not concerned with their department.

Questions asked under RTI Act 2005

Forest Department

1. Total extent of reserve forest, acquired for mining purpose.

2. In case of any land acquired, details of lease periods, nature of compensatory afforestation and status.

Responses received


• No forest land acquired for any non-forestry activities like mining.
• No area of wildlife sanctuaries diverted for mining.
• Extent of area diverted for mining purpose of North Goa division is 248.1598 ha.


1. Jagdalpur Reserve Forest acquired for mining: 2696.220 ha.
2. Bijapur Reserve Forest acquired for mining: 1,955545 ha.

Andhra Pradesh

• No acknowledgement received so far.

Tamil Nadu

• No acknowledgement received so far.


• Asked for proof of personal identity for providing information, proof sent, but no information received so far.

Questions asked under RTI Act 2005

Agriculture and Irrigation Departments

1. Changes in water tables affecting agriculture and the reasons behind it.

2. Extent of area of land made uncultivable due to change in water levels, mining activities.

3. Information regarding decrease in crop yields or prescribed changes in cropping pattern and new crop disease.

4. Action taken.

Responses received


• Agriculture Department suggested that application be sent to Municipal and Water Supply Department.
• Municipal and Water Supply Department directed applicant to apply to Irrigation Department.
• Irrigation Department replied saying questions in application not relevant to us.

Tamil Nadu

• Agriculture Department suggested application should be sent to Water Department.
• Water Department replied saying:
Groundwater wing taken up two projects under artificial recharge of ground water:
- Artificial recharge of groundwater through dug well
- Master plan artificial recharge scheme
Maximum, minimum, and average water level of Cuddalore district (January–December 2007): Minimum- 0.26, Maximum: 102 and Average: 14.72

Questions asked under RTI Act 2005

Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Department

NREGA activities for the years 2007-08 and 2008-09 in specific districts:

1. Number of days of work provided to job card holders.

2. Number of job cards.

3. Nature of Work taken up.

Responses received

Maharashtra (Pune)

• No acknowledgement received.


• No acknowledgement received.

Tamil Nadu

• No acknowledgement received.

Questions asked under RTI Act 2005

Coal Mining Companies

1. Total land acquired by the company till date.

2. Total area proposed for land acquisition for new projects.

3. Rehabilitation provided to displaced or affected families.

4. Compensation given.

5. Schools established, number of children from displaced families attending these schools, facilities provided by company in these schools like water supply and sanitation, teacher- student ratio, mid-day meal, hospitals established, number of families displaced who have hospital cards/use the facilities, number of doctors, facilities available.

6. Occupational health related diseases identified and treated in company hospital.

7. CSR activities in last 5 years, expenditure.

8. Total displaced/affected families provided employment/ jobs, details of jobs, levels, type of jobs.

Responses received


• As response to our initial letter, a fee of Rs. l1,364 was asked for extra manpower to collect the requested information.
• Later they provided the following information:
o Total number of displaced families 3,925 and total amount of compensation provided for them: Rs. 2753.20 lakh , 10 high schools and 1 upper primary schools and in these schools purified water, sanitation, mid-day meal facilities are available, 3,581 displaced children are studying there.
o Total no of families who lost land: 1,138, have been given employment as badli filler.

Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited

• 20,130 ha land is proposed for new projects.
• No data found regarding displacement.
• No proposal for hospital, but the community people are getting treatment at their health centres.
• 1,827 community people got permanent employment as unskilled labour.


• 2001 project affected families resettled/shifted in different projects
• Compensation provided by the company: Rs. 6859.43 lakh


• Total number of families displaced: 4,870.
• 4,684 displaced families given jobs according to merit and educational qualification.
• 5,148.42 ha land acquired by the company.
• 15 hospitals established by the company.

Western Coalfields Limited

• 16,700 families displaced and affected up to 30 June 2009 by the company.
• 16,700 famlies given jobs according to eligibility and consolidated stipend of Rs. 5,550 per month.
• 20,815.17 ha land acquired by the company up to June 2009
• For 42 new projects 23,289.43 ha area proposed for land acquisition.
• 6,521 families have been resettled till date.
• Rs. 107.24 crore have been spent by the company for compensation


• 360 displaced families have got employment as general workers.
• 3,067.41 acres of land acquired by the company.
• The company has spent Rs. 14,07,75400 as compensation for land and Rs. 12,37,0000 on compensation and resettlement.

Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL)

• ECL has acquired 13,749 ha of land since inception till 31 March 2009.
• ECL applied for acquisition of 209.33 ha of land for new project and 2267.67 ha for expansion of old project.
• Royalty of coal and sand is payable to the state government and not to any local panchayat.

Questions asked under RTI Act 2005

Water pollution

1. Details of water contaminated by company activities, steps taken to clean up, any health problems, complaints received from local people, others.

2. Sources of water diverted/used for mining related works.

3. Number of villages supplied with drinking water by your company, details.

Responses received

Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited

• For mining of lignite both groundwater and storm water are pumped out. Groundwater contamination is not possible due to mining.
• Water bodies not available close to mine site areas. Water samples are collected once in 6 months.
• No complaints recorded so far regarding health problems due to water contamination.
• The company is helping meet water needs of villages as per guidance of district revenue authority.
• Within the area selected for mining operations, groundwater table not required to be monitored owing to fluctuations in mine advancement taking place continuously.


• Not identified any water pollution nor received any complaint regarding water pollution in the area.
• Water monitoring involves periodical assessment of quality of mine discharge water, treated workshop effluents, treated colony effluents, ground surface water and surface water.
• Water quality of bore wells and dug wells in nearby village and nearby water bodies also monitored once in three months in all mining areas of the company.
• Groundwater table monitored regularly. Except for seasonal and rainfall variations, no prominent changes noticed.


The RTI Act is intended to facilitate affected citizens or those individuals or institutions working in public interest to access information available in government offices. However, to use this tool is a journey through frustration in most instances as the desire to share public information is largely absent in the government offices. The various bottlenecks, procedures and rules that have been created in the state acts which are different from the central act and the lack of correct information even in the websites of various departments’ present confusion on application procedures. The applications are rejected for the most trivial omissions and errors with regard to procedures and rules which imply that frustrating the applicant and thereby discouraging use of the Act is the general response from government bodies. Unless information put up on the websites and available at government offices is accurate, updated and easy to access, the RTI Act will become redundant. Therefore, proper information on the RTI Act itself is required. Discrepancies in rules and procedures between departments and states have to be removed to reduce confusion over the Act. The information received so far, especially with regard to child labour, shows that the information available in the government and the process of reporting within the government have to be reviewed considering the high variance in primary data and data provided by government departments, with respect to child labour and school drop-out rates. Some of the information we have sought, with respect to water, agriculture, cropping patterns, etc., are clearly not available with the concerned departments or not available in a format where empirical conclusions and understanding can be drawn from such data. It is particularly important for government departments as stakeholders whose resources and services are impacted by mining activities, to have such authentic data and understand the trends in water, pollution, energy and health problems, in the absence of which companies have denied any problems being associated with their activities.
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Re: India's Childhood in the "Pits": A Report on the Impacts

Postby admin » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:13 am

© Annexures


The table shows that in 1999-2001, the state had 1,777 stone quarries and the revenue collected was to the tune of Rs.1954.09 lakhs ( from 16 districts). In 2008–09, the revenue increased to 2990.32 lakhs (covering only three districts). This increase is a reflection of the increase in the number of stone quarries, which is further indicative of the increase in unorganised sector workers.

Stone quarries in Maharashtra and revenue earned by the government



The tables below give some district data for Bellary on total number of children, children attending school, drop outs and children brought back to school under different programmes. The data was collected by Sakhi, a organisation in Bellary district by filing RTI applicataions.the increase in unorganised sector workers.

Drop-out rate of children in Bellary district from 2006–08

Drop-out rate of children in Bellary district from 2006–08
Taluk / Total no. of child. 6-14 yrs / Child. attend sch. 6-14 yrs / Child drop out midway / Child. above 7 yrs. not admit. in sch. / Total / Percentage

East Bellary / 54,794 / 50,816 / 1,012 / 399 / 1,411 / 2.58
West Bellary / 51,299 / 47,553 / 865 / 279 / 1,144 / 2.23
Hadgali / 29,518 / 26,322 / 467 / 25 / 492 / 1.67
H.B.Halli / 28,987 / 25,209 / 1,242 / 57 / 1,299/ 4.48
Hospet / 60,997 / 55,139 / 1,325 / 181 / 1,506 / 2.47
Kudligi / 50,985 / 45,857 / 621 / 101 / 722 / 1.42
Sandur / 38,675/ 33,906 / 1,742 / 129 / 1,871 / 4.48
Saruguppa / /39,019 / 34,212 / 521 / 267 / 788 / 2.02
Total / 354,247 / 319,014 / 7,795 / 1,438 / 9,233 / 2.61
Source: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan responses to RTI applications filed by local organisation Sakhi, Hospet

Data of children’s education in Bellary district for the year 2007
Taluk / No of child. / School-going child. / No. of child. admit. in sch. / Child. above 7 yrs who drop out midway -A / No. of child. not admit. in sch. above 7 yrs age -B / Total A + B / Percent

East Bellary / 55,079 / 50,057 / 3,703 / 1,083 / 236 / 1319 / 2.39
West Bellary / 49,923 / 45,655 / 3,589 / 424 / 255 / 679 / 1.36
Hadgalli / 29,512 / 26,387 / 2,815 / 290 / 20 / 310 / 1.05
H.B.Halli / 28,899 / 25,258 / 2,561 / 1042 / 38 / 1080 / 3.74
Hospet / 59,789 / 55,419 / 4,001 / 276 / 93 / 369 / 0.62
Kudligi / 50,126 / 45,246 / 4,491 / 371 / 18 / 389 / 0.78
Sandur / 36,094 / 32,275 / 3,337 / 392 / 90 / 482 / 1.34
Siriguppa / 39,678 / 34,596 / 4512 / 377 / 193 / 570 / 1.44
Total / 349,100 / 314,893 / 29,009 / 4,255 / 943 / 5,198 / 1.49
Source: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan responses to RTI applications filed by local organisation Sakhi, Hospet

Data of children’s education in Bellary district for the year 2007
Taluk / No. of child. age 6-14 yrs. / Sch.-going child. 6-14 years / Child. not admit. sch. below 7 yrs. / Child. drop out midway 7-14 yrs. -A / Child. not admitted school above 7 yrs, 7-14 yrs. -B / Total A + B / Percent

East Bellary / 57,020 / 52,651 / 3601 / 458 / 286 / 726 / 1.2732375
West Bellary / 51,949 / 47,662 / 3,624 / 441 / 222 / 663 / 1.7262517
Hadgali / 30,020 / 27,171 / 2,606 / 231 / 12 / 243 / .8094604
H.B.Halli / 29,670 / 26,509 / 2,413 / 679 / 56 / 735 / 2.4772497
Hospet / 64,638 / 60,360 / 3,781 / 376 / 112 / 488/ 0.7549739
Kudligi / 51,689 / 47,370 / 3,929 / 303 / 81 / 384 / 0.7429047
Sandur / 39,935 / 36,633 / 2,829 / 376 96 / 472 / 1.1819206
Siruguppa / 43,051 / 38,011 / 4,170 / 524 / 346 / 870 / 2.020859
Total / 367,972 / 336,367 / 26,953 / 3,388 / 1,193 / 4,581 / 1.2449
Source: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan responses to RTI applications filed by local organisation Sakhi, Hospet

Census data for children in Bellary district for the year 2008
Taluk / No. of child. 6-14 yrs. / Sch.-going Child. 6-14 yrs. / Child. not admit. sch. below 7 yrs. / Child. drop out midway 7-14 yrs -A / Child. not admit. sch. above 7 yrs., 7-14 yrs. -B / Total A + B / Percent

East Bellary / 57,020 / 52,651 / 3601 / 458/ 286 / 726 / 1.2732375
West Bellary / 51,949 / 47,662 / 3,624 / 441 / 222 / 663 / 1.7262517
Hadgali / 30,020 / 27,171 / 2,606 / 231 / 12 / 243 / .8094604
H.B.Halli / 29,670 / 26,509 / 2,413 / 679 / 56 / 735 / 2.4772497
Hospet / 64,638 / 60,360 / 3,781 / 376 / 112 / 488 / 0.7549739
Kudligi / 51,689 / 47,370 / 3,929 / 303 / 81 / 384 / 0.7429047
Sandur / 39,935 / 36,633 / 2,829 / 376 / 96 / 472 / 1.1819206
Siruguppa / 43,051 / 38,011 / 4,170 / 524 / 346 / 870 / 2.020859
Total / 367,972 / 336,367 / 26,953 / 3,388 1,193 / 4,581 / 1.2449
Source: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan responses to RTI applications filed by local organisation Sakhi, Hospet

Drop-out children brought back to school under different programmes in Bellary district for the year 2006
District / Dropout child. 7-14 yrs / Child admit. thru Chinara angela to prim. sch. / Dropout child. study in tent sch. / Study at home / Admit. in sch. thru campaign / In board sch. for 12 mo. / In board sch. 6 mo. / Alt. sch. / Total no. child. admit. sch. / Exist. child. out of sch. / Data on more child (migr.)

East Bellary / 1,411 / 639 / 103 / 134 / 379 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1255 / 156 / 0
West Bellary / 1,144 / 557 / 128 / 132 / 367 / 0 / 68 / 0 / 1252 / 0 / 108
Hadagali / 492 / 447 / 26 / 60 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 26 / 559 / 0 / 67
H.B.Halli / 1,299 / 564 / 16 / 27 / 110 / 22 / 44 / 16 / 799 / 500 / 0
Hospet / 1,506 / 242 / 355 / 51 / 295 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 943 / 563 / 0
Kudligi / 722 / 571 / 0 / 47 / 121 / 40 / 0 / 0 / 779 / 0 / 57
Sandur / 1,871 / 241 / 311 / 46 / 79 / 0 / 0 / 14 / 691 / 1,180 / 0
Siriguppa / 788 / 660 / 13 / 15 / 40 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 728 / 60 / 0
Total / 9,233 / 3,921 / 952 / 512 / 1,391 / 62 / 112 / 56 / 7,006 / 2,459 / 232
Note: In West Bellary, Kudligi and in Hadligi, numbers of extra children out of Bellary district were found. These children may be not from Bellary district but from out of Bellary districts and working somewhere in mining and other worksite.
Source: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan responses to RTI applications filed by local organisation Sakhi, Hospet

Data of drop-out children in Bellary district (February 2008)
District / Dropouts betw. Feb. 2007-08, 7-14 yrs. / Dropout child. from Bellary / Total no. of dropout child./ Dropout child. in Chinnara Angala prog. / Drop-out child in RBC prog. / Drop out child in NRBC pro.g / Dropout child. admit. in prog. thru campaign / Dropout child. in tent sch. prog / Total dropout child. in diff. prog. / No. of dropout child. after implem. of diff. prog. / Child. not count. and also dropouts brought back to sch.

East Bellary / 1,319 / 14 / 1,333 / 645 / 90 / 115 / 526 / 97 / 1473 / 0 / 140
West Bellary / 679 / 18 / 697 / 278 / 60 / 30 / 361 / 109 / 838 / 0 / 141
Hadagali / 310 / 155 / 465 / 245 / 0 / 26 / 0 / 0 / 271 / 194
H.B.Halli / 1,080 / 0 / 1,080 / 594 / 0 / 0 40 / 0 634 / 446
Hospet / 369 / 245 / 614 / 201 / 46 / 0 / 138 / 143 / 528 / 86
Kudligi / 389 / 117 / 506 / 320 / 103 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 423 / 83
Sandur / 482 / 0 / 482 / 157 / 0 / 0 / 79 / 346 / 582 / 0 / 100
Siriguppa / 570 / 0 / 570 / 238 / 100 / 0 / 47 / 0 / 385 / 185
Total / 5,198 / 549 / 5,747 / 2,678 / 399 / 171 / 1191 / 695 / 5134 / 994 / 381
Source: Sarva Siksha Abhiyan responses to RTI applications filed by local organisation Sakhi, Hospet
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