By Felix Padel and Samarendra Das
An answer to Venky Vembu’s article ‘Jairam is wrong: It isn’t mining that causes poverty’ written after Jairam Ramesh’s januray visit to Niyamgiri mountain.
The mainstream belief that mining-based industrialization is the basis of development, and can uplift backward areas, is contradicted by the logic of the Resource Curse, which explains not just why some of the countries richest in resources are poorest (e.g. Congo), but why resource rich regions within a country remain poor (e.g. Odisha): basically because resource wealth attracts the most hideous forms of exploitation. Whether one looks at coal mining, iron ore mines, the chromite quarries of Sukinda, near Kalinganagar, that the Blacksmith Institute has listed as among the ten most polluted places on earth, or bauxite mines and aluminium factories, one finds an appalling level of poverty and abuse that no amount of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ can hide.