Other States

Cancel bauxite lease, urges environmentalist

Prafulla Samantra, Goldman Environmental prize awardee, urged the Odisha government to cancel mining rights awarded to the Hindalco Industries Limited to excavate bauxite from the Maliparvat deposit in the Koraput district.

“Maliparvat is home to 36 perennial streams which flow into the Kolab river. Besides, thousands of tribals grow vegetable crops which is irrigated by the water flowing down from Maliparvat,” said Mr. Samantra.

He said villagers had been protecting the forests around the Maliparvat for the past five decades.

“In 2007, the Maliparvat bauxite mining lease was awarded to the Hindalco Industries Limited. At that time the company’s environment impact assessment report mentioned that there was no water-body in Maliparvat,” said the environmentalist.

“Till 2011 the company failed to carry out mining and subsequently, its environmental clearance expired. But, in 2012-2014 it started mining illegally without going in for renewal of environmental clearance,” Mr. Samantra alleged.

He said, “Due to local tribals’ resistance, mining activities stopped. The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest had even objected to the renewal of the clearance in 2020.”

‘Extension for 50 years’

“But in April 2021, the company got extension of mining lease for 50 years and was allowed to apply for fresh environmental clearance, for which public hearing will be held September 22.” Mr. Samantra said, the small deposit of 14 million tonnes would not provide the State government much royalty.

“However, its ecological value and the livelihood of thousands of tribals are immense,” he said. The noted environmentalist demanded immediate cancellation of the mining right.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 2:20:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cancel-bauxite-lease-urges-environmentalist/article36600381.ece

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