Shadowy hands behind unrest against Asia’s largest diamond mine – by Shantanu Guha Ray (Sunday Guardian Live – January 8, 2023)

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Buxwaha, Sagar (MP): Troubled by a medley of activists, the Aditya Birla group may have developed second thoughts over a big diamond project in Madhya Pradesh. And no one knows why the protests are happening, or what exactly the demands are of those protesting against the mining.

The mine is inside a forest in Buxwaha, located 200 kms from Sanchi, a sleepy town of stupas, hemispherical structures containing relics of Lord Buddha. The mine is huge, the biggest in Asia. The Bunder diamond block has 34 million carat diamonds, valued at a whopping Rs 55,000 crore. The mine has a potential to catapult India into the world’s ten top rough diamond producers and in the process put the diamonds of Africa to shame.

Essel Mining, a subsidiary of the Aditya Birla group with a presence in over 36 countries and revenues worth $46 billion, has won the rights to mining.
Top officials of the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation (MPIDC) told this reporter that activists were protesting against mining in the region “for no valid reason”. “They are creating trouble without any logic.

But the final word is not out on the Bunder diamond project. EMIL has not walked out of the project, there is a stalemate and this stalemate has continued for long. We are making serious efforts to resolve the crisis. It is an important project of the state that cannot be ignored,” said one official.

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