Tribals say ‘no’ to mining

We worship the entire range as “Niyamraja,” say villagers at hearing

July 19, 2013 01:27 am | Updated November 16, 2021 08:54 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR:

The Dongaria Kondh tribal people of Niyamgiri on Thursday said an emphatic ‘no’ to the proposed bauxite mining project on the Niyamgiri Hills, which is spread over the tribal-dominated districts of Kalahandi and Rayagada districts in Odisha.

Taking part in the first Gram Sabha hearing held at Sherkapadi village in Sibapadar gram panchayat in Rayagada district, as many as 36 out of the 38 villagers in attendance vehemently opposed the move. The hearing was conducted by ward member Shriram Gardia in the presence of Panchayat Extension Officer Pradhani Sabar. District Judge of Rayagada Sarat Chandra Mishra was present as an observer as per a Supreme Court order.

The villagers, who rejected an inter-departmental inquiry report that detailed the land used by the residents of Sherkapadi, said they worshipped the entire hill range as “Niyamraja.” The 20 men and 16 women who took part said mining would affect their religious rights as well as rituals.

According to sources, two resolutions were passed during the hearing. While in one resolution, the villagers completely opposed the project, in the second they claimed religious rights over the whole of Niyamgiri, which has as many as 112 tribal villages.

The hearing, which lasted several hours, was conducted amid tight security.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.