Monday, May 20, 2013


The Human physical body is composed of “Saptadhatus”.“Saptadhatus” is a Sanskrit word, which means seven constituent elements (Sapta=seven, dhatus=elements).As the human body, the physical world also composed up of some Elements(dhatu) and Minerals ,which gives rise to many lives from a unicellular to multicellular organism . We named it as ‘Earth’. The whole animal and plant kingdom is being nurtured by it .Hence we call it as “Mother Earth”. With the sand dunes of time the human civilization has been regarded by the use of metals, from the stone age to bronze age, iron age, gold age and now we call this age as the age of Aluminium.
On the year 1808, Sir Humpry Davy identified the existence of metal base of alum, which he first termed as alumium and later as aluminum.
Since then, Aluminium has been remained as a key metal for many scientist and chemists  to produce it in a cost effective way for day to day use. Later on the year 1887 a Austrian chemist Carl Josef Bayer invented the cost effective way to produce Aluminium from Bauxite. The process began to gain importance in metallurgy together with the invention of the electrolytic Aluminium process invented in 1886. Together with the cyanidation process invented in 1887, the Bayer process marks the birth of the modern field of hydrometallurgy.
Today, the process is virtually unchanged, succeeding by Hall-Herault process for smelting and it produces nearly all the world's alumina supply as an intermediate in aluminium production.

Bauxite is the ore of Aluminium. For a tribe aluminium is his blood and some soil. For a Metallurgist it is some bauxite and current, for a businessman a handful of dollar and a luxury car, for the consumer society it a wrapper of a tobacco and insulator of a medicine. For the students who are studying in D.P.E.P schools it is the utensils of a common man, for the imperialistic nations like USA and Britain it is supersonic fighter planes and deadly weapons.
The environmental impacts of aluminium production.
To produce Aluminium products from Bauxite, the following 4 processes are necessary
 Mining – To extract raw Bauxite from the earth
 Refining – To refine raw Bauxite into Alumina powder
 Smelting – To convert Alumina into liquid Aluminium
 Casting – To produce Ingots, Wire-rods and Billets from liquid Aluminium

To produce one ton aluminium around 5 to 6 ton bauxite(grade) , 8 to 10 ton water , 1.5 ton coal , 0.6 ton anode carbon, 0.25 ton fuel, 0.2 ton caustc soda, 0.1 ton fluride salt, o.r ton calcin and petroleum, 0.15 ton of coke or pitch and 15000-16000 KW current.
Every one ton aluminium discharges 18 ton of poisonous wastes. From each ton of aluminium 6 ton red mud(a mixture  of sodium aluminate and undissolved bauxite residues containing iron, silicon, and titanium,14 rare earth elements,& some radioactive elements like HF,U,Th etc.),which contains  50 k.g of deadly poison called as Spent Pot lining(SPL) and many other cancer causing harmful agents like cyanides, heavy meatals etc.
Mining Bauxite causes many environmental hazards then any other mineral explorations, though  Aluminium is mainly produced from bauxite and over 90% of the world’s bauxite resources are concentrated on the tropical and sub-tropical belt in Australia, Guinea, Jamaica, Surinam, Brazil, and India(Odisha shares the highest 55% Bauxite reserve). It totally stops the perennial water streams and reduces the ground water level causing the area totally infertile and barren. The bauxite dusts which produce during mining excavations and conveying can travel up to 15 to 20 km on air and can contaminate the air and water so critically that  to cause a desert like surrounding.The aluminium refinery needs minimum 4 to 5 ton of water for refining.If the refinery runs a thermal power plant then it produces tons of  fly ash which ll be later collected on a ash pond and it emits a tons of carbon dioxide to the environment.Smelting plant emits many HFCs(Hydro floro carbons) like CF4, Hexafluoroethane which are the main substance for Ozone layer depletion and global worming.

Keeping on view of the above facts, mining Bauxite is no less hazardous than any nuclear disasters. While we are only busy on focusing on the nuclear disasters ignoring this mining activity, which might create another human made catastrophe and can turn this blue planet like  Mars.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Story of a Sacred Mountain & Struggle for Exhistance

It is the story of a sacred and mighty mountain, standing as high as 1516 mtr of altitude in the Eastern Ghats to defeat the enormous worries and leaving apart the problems created by the humans in its loving self. It is a mountain which has been nurturing the millions of floras, faunas and many perennial water streams since the ages. The nature playing on its cradle  by listening to the symphony of rustling winds, gargling water streams and the tranquil melodies of singing birds. The mother mountain has its own name i.e Niyam-giri or Niyam Dongar(The Mountain of Law) by the scheduled mountain dwellers, the ‘Dongria Kondhs’(Mountain Tribes).Dongria kondh is one of the primitive and indigenous tribes of the world who enjoys a critical ,spiritual, and symbolic relation  with the Niyamgiri forests from the time immemorial. The Dongrias believe that the hill belongs to ‘Niyam Raja Penu’, a male deity represented by a Sword and worshiped during Dussera.They claim themselves to be the descendants of Niyam Raja. The Dongrias have a distinguished heritage because of their dress style, mode of living, indigenous skills, cultural pattern and social system interlinked with the nature and the mountain forests.

More than 75% of the Niyamgiri hills’ landmass is covered with dense forests. According to taxonomists, who visited ‘Niyamgiri Hills’ report in their preliminary assessment, "The flora of the hill range exhibits a very rich and varied assemblage of plant species owing to its diversified topography with high mountain peaks and innumerable deep valleys and gorges,abundant springs and diverse vegetation resources.”

On fauna front of view, the REIA report mentions that being mainly a forest area, the study area shows wide faunal diversity and abundance. The area exhibits a well-balanced ecosystem with a poised prey-predator relationship. The secondary data identifies a variety of faunal species under categories like endangered and vulnerable as per the Zoological Survey of India’s Red Data Book.

Keeping on view of the above facts the Govt was supposed to declare this area a wild life sanctuary.
Apart from that, the mountain is the finest deposits of Bauxites (A raw material of aluminium, used especially for warheads and weapons) in its womb, which lured the British giant Vedanta Aluminium Ltd to its home to mine bauxite and set up a massive refinery near its territory.

And this is how the Mountain came into the picture of the world media and struggle by its protectors(the Konds) .It is a struggle of a poor man, a poor clan, it is the struggle for their food, a struggle for their life , a struggle for their identity, a struggle for their God(the Mother nature the 'Dharani Penu' ). Moreover it is the struggle of a human who loves his mother greater than the god himself.

The Fact Finding Team of the Central Empowered Committee, Supreme Court, consisting of Mr. Sanjeev Chadha and Mr.S.C.Sharma , who visited the site, mentioned above things in their report, which submitted to Central Empowered Committee.