Stone Mining in Jharkhand
- October 26, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Stone Mining in Jharkhand
Subject – Environment
Context – A primitive tribe and rare fossils threatened by stone mining in Jharkhand
- Rampant stone quarrying in the Rajmahal hills of Jharkhand has raised concerns on its impact on the indigenous communities living nearby.
- The impact of mining activities affect the livelihood and habitation of SauriaPaharia, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), that lives on the hills.
- Rajmahal hosts some of the oldest fossils in the world and there is a need to protect the area, say experts.
- Rare fossils, found in these hills, are claimed to be one of the oldest in the world and belong to the Jurassic period. These fossils could help scientists in research tracing the evolution of Earth and its creation.
Rajmahal Hills –
- Experts claim that after the Aravali hills, Rajmahal hills are perhaps among India’s oldest hills.
- Origin of these hills could be traced back to anywhere between 68 million years to 118 million years.
- The Rajmahal Hills are located in the Santhal Pargana division of Jharkhand, India.
- They were located on the northern margin of the Gondwana supercontinent, and its hills are today inhabited by the SauriaPaharia people whilst its valleys are dominated by the Santhal people.
- Volcanic activity during the Jurassic resulted in the formation of the Rajmahal Traps.
- The Rajmahal hills are named after the town of Rajmahal which lies in the eastern Jharkhand.
- The River Ganges wanders around the hills changing the direction of flow from east to south.
- Francis Buchanan-Hamilton travelled through the Rajmahal hills in the early 19th century. He described the hills that seemed impenetrable in a zone where few travellers had been.
- The plant fossil bearing inter-trappean beds of the Rajmahal Formation have been declared National Geological Monuments of India by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), for their protection, maintenance, promotion and the enhancement of geotourism.
- The Rajmahal hills contain plant fossils which are 68 to 145 million years old.
- The fossils here have attracted geologists and palaeobotanists from all over the world.
- The SauriaPaharia tribe depends mainly on mixed farming of millet, corn and other crops.They practice shifting cultivation, called jhum.
- The SauriaPaharia people (also known as Maler Paharia) are a tribal people of Bangladesh and the Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Bihar.
- They are found mostly in Santhal Parganas region in the Rajmahal Hills.
- According to Kurukh traditions, when they were driven out of their home in the Son valley, the main group migrated towards Palamu but a smaller group moved down the Gangetic valley till they reached Rajmahal Hills, where they settled mostly in Damin-i-koh.
- The language of the SauriaPaharias is closely linked to that of the Oraons.
- The SauriaPaharias mainly worship their ancestral spirits, known as JiweUrkkya (“the spirit that has left”), especially before sowing a new field.
- The Saurias also worship a group of spirits called Gosain. These are associated with every phenomenon in the world around them.
Particularly vulnerable tribal group
- 75 tribal groups have been categorized categorized by Ministry of Home Affairs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)s.
- The criteria for identifying Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups are:
- Pre-agricultural level of technology
- Low level of literacy
- Economic backwardness
- A declining or stagnant population.
- PVTGs reside in 18 States and UT of A&N Islands.
- Besides a number of schemes of Government of India and the State Governments where PVTG population are also benefitted along with other population, Ministry of Tribal Affairs administers a scheme namely ‘Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)’specifically for the PVTG population.
- The scheme covers the 75 identified PVTGs in 18 States, and Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
- The scheme aims at planning their socio-economic development in a comprehensive manner while retaining the culture and heritage of the communities by adopting habitat level development approach.
- Under this scheme, financial assistance is provided to the State/UT Governments based on their proposals for development of tribal people in the sectors of education, housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, construction of link roads, installation of non-conventional sources of energy for lighting purpose, social security or any other innovative activity meant for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs and to fill in the critical gaps. The projects taken up under this scheme are demand driven.
PVTGs in Jharkhand (including Bihar)