Tribals unite again to oppose mining in Niyamgiri hills

Organisations like Niyamgiri Surakshya Samity (NSS), Lok Sangram Manch (LSM) and All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) have decided to restart organising people’s movement against alleged attempt of Odisha government to revive proposal of bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hill range.

These organisations had played a key role during the agitation of Dongria Kondh tribals against the mining of this hill range. As per some reports in media, the State government is planning to reconvene gram sabhas in Niyamgiri region with an aim to get permission for bauxite mining. It may be noted that in July and August 2013, gram sabhas had been held in villages of Niyamgiri hill range under judicial supervision because of direction of the Supreme Court. Tribal inhabitants of this region had rejected bauxite mining plan in the region for Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL).

NSS leader Subas Kulisika, who is from the Dongria Kondh community, said they would again try to thwart attempt of government to mine Niyamgiri region, which is their source of life and livelihood. The NSS will again reorganise the tribals of the regions who have become too conscious about the issue. AIKMS national committee member B. C. Sadangi said it is an irony that the State government has failed to provide benefits of implementation of Forest Rights Act to the tribals living in Niyamgiri region but is continuing with backdoor efforts to benefit private company. This peasants’ organisation has decided to provide all possible support to the NSS and tribals if the government proposes to hold gram sabha meetings again. Tribal organisation LSM has also opposed the government’s attempt to allow bauxite mining in the region. The LSM plans to start mass movement to increase public awareness against mining project in Niyamgiri region, said its leader Ganesh Jakesika.

Convenor of Lok Shakti Abhijan Prafulla Samantra, the petitioner in the Vedanta case in the Supreme Court, has also opposed recent reports that the Odisha government has started preparation to restart process to enable mining in Niyamgiri Hills. According to him, this attempt was demeaning the judiciary of the country.

The hills are our source of life and livelihood: Niyamgiri Surakshya Samity

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