Mica is considered the most glittering mineral because of its uniqueness and properties due to which it is widely used in makeup products. But the dark side of the mica mining is blood curdling as approx. 2,000 children were involved in mica scavenging in Jharkhand and Bihar & 45 children died due to mica scavenging in 2013 to 2018.
It’s not only about child labour or death but it also exploited environment as most of the mica mining is in forest areas.
Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees the right to life and personal liberty to every person. But what about those who are being exploited due to mica mining and what about the children who aren’t getting education? Don’t they have the right to education under Article 21 A of Constitution of India which states that every child between the age of 6 to 14 years should be given free and compulsory education.
However it is not possible to cope with the problem in one instance, there is a need to take constant steps to eradicate which are as follow –
Use of synthetic mica instead of natural mica
Recently, lush Ltd, British Cosmetic retailer started using synthetic mica to replace natural mica which not only made it environment friendly but also an initiative against exploitation of children, weaker section and environment.
When you analyze the ingredients of cosmetic products, we will see 90% of the products have mica because all the no makeup look, shining look, sparkle and everything can’t go without make up.
So, if possible, one should replace natural mica with synthetic mica.
Legalizing mica mining
As per the report, 71.27 million U.S. dollars has been exported from India in the 2019 financial year. But how is it possible? Most of the fine mica is found in Jharkhand, mainly in Koderma district. However, after the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the mica mines were abandoned in Jharkhand. Then how is mica being exported at large?
The government is also looking at the matter and some mica mines are being raided. But do you think it is going to work from a longer perspective?
In Spite of illegal mining, the government can look for an alternative which can be legalizing mica mining and running it with proper channels. If mica mining is legalised the exploitation of weaker sections & the environment can be minimised.
Spreading awareness about illegal mica mining
Awareness is the light that can brighten the darkest side of anything. Law professionals & NGOs often visit the underprivileged areas to inculcate people with their basic fundamental rights. But this needs to be implemented at large. Most of the people in backward areas of Jharkhand don’t even know about illegal mica mining. All they know is if they don’t go to work then they will sleep on an empty stomach.
Alternative available for earning
If the individual knows how to bargain for himself and knows the value of his work then the chances of exploitation reduces. He is inculcated with the skills and can work anywhere without exploitation.
Here, the individual himself needs to add value in his life by learning new skills and by updating himself with the society and coping up with the uncertainty.
Apart from this, the Government also needs to generate employment for the graduate and undergraduate people and make sure the right person is given the right job at the right time.
Authorities need to raid on a regular basis and keep a check
The environment, children, and locals are exploited due to illegal mica mining, their families aren’t getting adequate wages, but still the miscreants have no fear of the law.
Recently, In Koderma, few mica mines were raided by the authorities but some are still in operation.
So the authorities need to raid on a regular basis to keep a check on such activities because it’s better to move a little than to never move.
There is a need to implement strict provisions regarding illegal mica mining, employing children and exploiting labour. Even after the mica mining is being raided, no strict penalties are being imposed on them. The cases remain pending for years while some restart mining.
There is a need to amend the act in such a way that there would be fear of punishment among them which will help to minimise the exploitation.