fbpx
Skip to content

ORDINARY PEOPLE. EXTRAORDINARY IMPACT.

Watch the 2023 Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony.

India’s Supreme Court Cancels Vast Majority of Country’s Mining Licenses

October 8, 2014

A recent ruling from India’s Supreme Court declared all mining licenses issued after 1993 to be illegal. We reached out to the 2014 Goldman Prize winner from India, Ramesh Agrawal, a right to information activist who successfully shut down one of the largest coal mines in his region, to get his feedback on the ruling. Here is what he had to say:

“The recent Supreme Court verdict that canceled all but a handful of coal mining licenses is certainly great news. It exposes the unholy nexus that exists between politicians, bureaucrats and the extraction industries in India. The ruling provides a reprieve for millions of hectares of good forests, millions of people who are dependent on these, and numerous other species and uncountable amount of water resources.

However, it’s important this reprieve will only be temporary. The ruling still allows some of the existing coal mines to continue operating for six months and settle various business issues. But the fact is, these coal mines will never stop. The permits will come up for auction, and the present owners will make a cartel of it. Their mantra among them is “You don’t touch mine, and I won’t touch yours.”

And when the government gets to auction off the coal blocks, will the communities have a right to any input at this stage? They are the ones who have suffered the most from coal mining. The government will make a handsome profit from the auction route, but it won’t bring any good to the environment and poor people who live off the land.

Over the last four months, the new BJP-led government has been busy diluting and dismantling whatever little exists in terms of environmental governance in India. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MEFCC) has convened a committee to review core legislation that was originally developed to protect India’s environment. There are no clear requirements or objectives for this reinterpretation of existing laws; it’s clear that the convening of this committee is aimed at completely dismantling the laws and institutions related to environmental governance in India. It is not a good sign for the future of this country and her people.”

Related Posts

Wrapping up a Busy Fall at Asia-Pacific Climate Week


November 21, 2023

Uniting Grassroots Leaders from around the World Today we are celebrating the end to a busy fall season, which brought the Goldman Environmental Prize to five regional climate events and summits around the world. Over the course of the past three months, in five different countries, the Goldman Prize convened 21 Prize winners across five…

Read more

Reflections on Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week


November 1, 2023

Last week, the Goldman Environmental Prize gathered in Panama for Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week. Five Prize winners were in attendance: Ruth Buendía (Peru, 2014), Leydy Pech (Mexico, 2020), Liz Chicaje Churay (Peru, 2021), and Alexandra Narvaez and Alex Lucitante (Ecuador, 2022). For those who won the Goldman Prize during the COVID-19 pandemic,…

Read more

Goldman Prize Winners Reflect on the IUCN Leaders Forum


October 23, 2023

From October 11 – 13, three Goldman Environmental Prize winners attended the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Leaders Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. The three-day conference convened global leaders and experts in policy, finance, and science to discuss how to protect and restore biodiversity across various sectors. Prize winners in attendance were Howard…

Read more