While discussing about the current debacle in Nepal with a Nepalese friend we mused over the following thought. (For those who are not aware of the issue, the plain southern districts of Nepal are striking for last many months. This means roads are blocked and system has almost stopped working. The reason? Well, they need more rights and resources from the valley based government and one of the major demands is to have some of the mines in the Tarai state in the new state formation procedure.)
If we observe closely, we will mark that almost universally mines have created more problems than solutions in developing and under-developed regions. Look at majority of the African countries. The more mineral rich a nation is the more militants and the more severe civil wars they enjoy! Look at India. All the states with lot of mineral wealth (be it Odisha or Jharkhand) are pretty poor when we look at HDI. Politically unaware general population, extremely self-motivated politicians and scrupulous contractors seem to be the norm in all developing regions with mineral wealth which ultimately gives rise to unsustainable exploitation of nature and highly unfavourable distribution of the wealth coming from the mines. This in turn keeps the land perennially under-developed and aids in increasing the Gini-index every passing year.
This is a vicious circle of curse coming from mines (which politicians tend to portray as boons). This can only be broken if the young intelligentia can observe this and start taking collective action in training the manpower. However, coming back to Nepal, the best option for Tarai region will be to “demand” no-mines in the new state of Tarai!