Now it’s Mandla in MP digging for gemstones!
JABALPUR: Out of nowhere, suddenly, India has become a digger's paradise. Earlier, it was Unnao of Uttar Pradesh digging for gold and now its Mandla's turn to do so. This tribal pocket of Madhya Pradesh is witnessing an all new phenomena these days for extracting some precious gemstones from its land. Forget MNREGS and farming, the villagers of around 10 villages in this district are sweating it out to dig deeper in pursuit of priceless gemstones that can change their fortunes.
Going back to the history of this place, the tribal ancestors of these villagers used to dig out these beautiful nuggets of black, brown, white, red, and rust colors in Nainpur. Possibly, the gemstones were first found near Taragarh Fort of Gondwana rulers.Interestingly, these rustics unaware of the value possessed by these colorful pebbles sold them at negligible prices. Though lately, excavations have led to larger discoveries of these gemstones within 40 km radius of this site.
Now, permutations have changed. These villagers are now getting more buyers who are basically the jewelers from cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Nagpur. The price fetched for these stones ranges anywhere from Rs. 1800 to Rs. 2500 per gram depending upon the quality of gemstone.Allured by this easy money, villagers from neighboring areas are also following the suite and are hunting for gems here. Going by the records, over 2000 men, women, and even children are involved in this massive exercise in Taliwada itself.
Just for the sake of this new found obsession, these people have abandoned their age long profession of farming. Instead, farmers in this area are lending their fields at Rs. 10, 000 per month to interested tenants who can dig them and keep the riches, if lucky enough to get any. For locals, this gift from their presiding deity Tara Devi has changed the course of their lives. A small stone sold for mere 50 paise few years ago is now fetching them Rs. 5000 or so. Clueless about the real value deserved by these gemstones, these villagers are happy and content with prices they are earning.
However, as expected, after much hype created about this digging, government has also taken notice. It has now ordered an official team of experts from Bhopal to visit this digging site and ascertain the type and value of this new found love of Mandla people. In fact, the topography of Mandla suggests huge reserve of such gemstone lying in its crust. Whether it proves to be true, it's a matter of time.