Save Saranda Campaign

Saranda is an Asia famed dense Sal-forest located in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. The meaning of Saranda in local HO dialect is an area of seven hundred hills.The sal trees of Saranda are termed as Green Steel. Beneath the roots of these green steel trees lies enormous amount of Iron Ore and Manganese known as Grey Steel. Unabated and unscrupulous mining of iron ore in last 5 years is bent upon destroying the ecology of the area. The water bodies of the area have been badly polluted and contaminated. Wild lives and flora-fauna are under threat. Mr. Saryu Roy toured the area several times in the last 4 years and raised the issue of corruption and environmental degradation at various forums. He has constituted a body of experts under the chairmanship of famous ornithologist Prof. K K Sharma under the banner of Save Saranda Campaign.

Saranda is a pristine sal forest cover an area of seven hundred hills spread over an area of about 820 square area in the West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand state in India. There is abundance of iron ore, manganese and other minerals of varied quality beneath the dense forest cover of Saranda. Besides plenitude of high grade sal trees manifold of herbs, shrubs grasses and variety of animals like elephants, sambhar, cheetah, blue deer, tiger, leopard, bear and bison besides birds of different hues are found here making Saranda very rich in biodiversity. The tract is also rich in surface, subsurface and ground water resources with two major rivers Karo and Koyna passing through this area.

In the year 2009 we in collaboration with the NGO Yugantar Bharati conducted a survey to assess the comparative losses of biodiversity and natural resources potential and to its dismay found that a danger is looming large on the existence of the pristine glory of Saranda owing to the rat race among the unscrupulous iron ore mining lobby backed by the men in administration to extract the precious underground natural resources at the cost of its ecosystem leading to acute pollution of land, waters, air and Wilde life as well as fast disappearance of rich biodiversity.

On the basis of the findings a "Save Saranda campaign" with a view to conservation and augmentation of the natural resources and arrest the decay in ecosystem of Saranda and is also conducting a study namely "Changing Face of Saranda". To identify the causes of degeneration in the ecosystem of Saranda and to find out appropriate solutions to arrest is the main objective the study of which an interim report will soon be produced.

We are of the firm opinion that there is no dearth of laws, enactments, policies, programmes, provisions and pronouncements with regard to mining in the reserved and dense forest areas. There are certain clauses embedded in the constitution for protection of nature and living beings on the earth and in its atmosphere on the basis of which a plethora of enactments, regulations and regulatory mechanism has been made to regulate the pace of economic activities in this regard.

Yet the situation is worsening day by day. The main reason behind it is that laws so made are violated more frequently than they are being observed for posterity. The handful of brilliant minds of our society who undertake oath of duty in the name of constitution and solemnly affirm to serve the people accordingly are in fact largely if not solely responsible for such predicament.

There is need to estimate the magnitude of the adverse impact of unbridled economic activities, particularly the mining, trading and transportation of iron ore bulk, on the overall environment and ecology of Saranda so that a process of need based sustainable mining may be adopted within the overall tolerance limits of its ecosystem to ensure the restoration of the pristine glory of Saranda sal forests and other natural resources including its unviable rich biodiversity. A carrying capacity based developmental planing of Saranda is in fact need of the hour.

The immortal utterance of Mahatma Gandhi that " the nature has enough resources to fulfillment everyone's need but not enough to fulfil everyone's greed may show us the way in this context.

PIL to Save Saranda Campaign