Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tribals happy after government rejects Vedanta Group’s plans for mining in Orissa, India

By Sharda Lehangir
Kalahandi (Orissa), Aug 25 (ANI): Locals of Orissa’s Kalahandi district expressed their happiness on Wednesday after the Union Environment Ministry rejected plans of India-focused miner Vedanta Resources Plc to go ahead with bauxite mining in the state.
Tribals professed themselves delighted with the decision of Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.
“We are very delighted with the announcement made by Jairam Ramesh over rejection of plans for bauxite mining in the state. Niyamgiri Hills are our mother and we cannot destroy them. If the government will change their decision now, then we will protest again and we will not vote. As the mining has been closed, the factory should be removed from here as well,” said Kumiti Majhi, a resident of Kalahandi.
They added that for a long time they were not even able to cultivate their lands due to pollution from the Vedanta building, and welcomed the change.
“Our Niyamgiri Bachao Suraksha Abhiyan is a success now, and we are very happy for it. It is a winning moment for the jungle, water, and land of the tribals. After the company was set up here, we were not able to cultivate our land properly because of pollution. We will now start cultivating our land,” said Purna Naik, another resident of Kalahandi.
Environment Ministry on Tuesday rejected the plans of mining group Vedanta Resources Plc to mine bauxite in Orissa, saying that it violated forest laws.
The Environment Ministry’s decision came after a government panel said last week that giving permission to Vedanta would violate green guidelines, and may have a serious impact on security, in a reference to worsening Maoist insurgency that feeds partly off the resentment of people displaced by large industrial projects.
Vedanta, on its part, had said that no one will be displaced as the mining site is located in an uninhabited area, and the project would economically aid the poor district.
The committee, which was set up by the Ministry of Environment early in 2010 to investigate the alleged violations of environmental laws by Vedanta Plc, also accused the company of illegally occupying the forestland for the 1.7 billion dollars project. (ANI)

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