In Madhya Pradesh: Rapid development of highways and the issue of illegal mining

Lalit Shastri

Madhya Pradesh Road sectorBhopal: Madhya Pradesh certainly has taken a big leap towards maintaining and upgrading State highways in recent years but the advantage of the transport sector, which is an important component of the economy and is crucial for development and all-round progress has been undermined by allegations of illegal mining against some companies that have bagged the contracts for building these roads.

A typical case in point relates to KCC Buildcon Pvt. Ltd. This company,incorporated with the Registrar of Companies (Delhi and Haryana) in 2009, claims to be one of the fastest emerging construction companies in India. The company has taken up projects across many different states, including Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal. Some of the major clients of this company are NHAI, MPRDC, WBHDCL, HSRDC, HSIIDC, DSIIDC, State PWDs, CPWD, GMADA, HUDA, and MES.

In Madhya Pradesh, KCC Buildcon’s projects include the development of Lateri-Tyonda (NH-86), and major district roads under Package ‘V’ for MPRDC at a contract value of Rs.156.83 Crore. Another MPRDC project undertaken by this company at a contract value of Rs. 116.03 crore is the widening and reconstruction of Pachor-Jirapur-Soyat Road.

A random check with regard to the status of illegal mining by Newsroom24x7 revealed that KCC Buildcon was allegedly involved in illegal mining of stone from the forest area for a road project in Dhar district. As a consequence two dumpers loaded with illegally mined stones and a poclain machine allegedly working for KCC Buildcon were seized by the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department on March 8 this year and a case (forest crime no. 118/25, range case no. 10/15-16) was registered. Sources in Dhar district administration informed that the process has been initiated to confiscate the dumpers and the poclain machine involved in this case. At present KCC Buildcon is facing a serious charge but the company will have the option to go in appeal even after confiscation of its property.

In Ratlam district, one came across an abandoned stone quarry barely about 3 kilomtres from the notified area of Amba in the Sailana Kharmor (lesser florican) sanctuary. spot was being used to illegally quarry stone for a road project and the illegal extraction of stone was stopped following the intervention of the forest authorities.

mining menaceAn imposing hill visible from a long distance touching the Dewas by-pass road that connects the Mumbai-Agra road is also being exploited ruthlessly for last several years. The big question is whether or not the mining lease for this site allows the destruction of a hill on such a massive scale.

new land under agricultureThe Asian Development Bank has assisted MPRDC (the state Road Development Corporation) in preparing the project reports and also in terms of financial assistance for building and upgrading the State highways. To meet the safeguard requirement of ADB in projects involving the international lending agency, environmental assessment for the road projects is carried out under relevant laws, regulations and also keeping in focus ADB’s Environmental Assessment Guidelines.

While the landscape is being mutilated recklessly on the pretext of development, one also comes across in the state vast tracts of revenue and forest land continuously being encroached and brought under agriculture. This activity is possible only with the patronage of those in authority. This trend appears to be rampant. On close observation, it was apparent that those engaged in grabbing land were racing with time to bring the maximum area under agriculture before the onset of monsoon. This was starkly visible along the highways as one drove through a couple of districts in western Madhya Pradesh during this week.

 

World leaders condemn the latest terror attacks

Newsroom24x7 Desk

terror attacksNew Delhi/Kuwait/Washington DC: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the lose of lives, in the attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the cowardly attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia”, the Indian Prime Minister said in a statement adding the progress of humanity lies in peace, brotherhood and non-violence, not in hatred, terror and mindless violence against others”.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Second Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman has denounced the deadly attack on Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque in the Sawaber area of Kuwait City The Saudi prince said his country stands united with Kuwait and its people.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in a statement on Friday’s suicide attack in Kuwait said: “On behalf of the Asian Olympic and sports family, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences on this tragedy to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti government and the Kuwaiti people.”

The White House in America described the attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia and France as ‘heinous acts of terror’. The United States has condemned in the strongest possible terms yesterday’s horrifying terrorist attacks in France, Kuwait, Somalia, and Tunisia, where dozens of innocent civilians – and in the case of Somalia, Burundian peacekeepers – were killed and injured.

Making this statement at the daily press briefing here on Friday, US Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby said: ” The United States grieves with the people and governments of Burundi, France, Kuwait, Somalia, Tunisia, and other nations affected by these vicious attacks, and stands with them in solidarity as they reject terrorism, protect their communities, restore peace and security, and persevere through these tragedies.

Kirby reiterated that the US would continue to work with all its allies and partners to address the shared threat of terrorism and violent extremism and to degrade and destroy the ability of these terrorist groups to carry out their callous attacks on innocent people.

Answering a question on these attacks , Kirby said there is a common thread of terrorism throughout them. Back in January, he told journalists, The Us did issue a worldwide caution about travel in particular and that stands and stays in effect. “In Kuwait our post there did put out an updated note to U.S. citizens there to avoid the area of the mosque that was targeted”, he said adding: “I don’t believe there are plans to issue a new warning with respect to these attacks.”

we’ve been very clear about the growing menace of ISIL in North Africa and Libya specifically. We know that this is a group that wants to metastasize beyond Iraq and Syria, though Iraq and Syria remain the principal theater in which they continue to influence and operate. And – but this has been a constant area of focus for us, not just – frankly not just in North Africa, but around the world.

On the issue of combating the ISIL menace, Kirby said “the degree to which we’re cooperating with those Kurdish fighters in northern Syria has been limited principally to airstrikes, and we continue to conduct airstrikes in Syria against ISIL positions. And I think that those strikes will continue, and that’s basically, in essence – that’s where that cooperation (between United States and Kurdish forces in northern Syria) stays.”