Uncertainty looms large over mining in Niyamgiri as 8th Gram Sabha rejects proposal

Bhubaneswar/ Kalahandi: The mining hopes of Vedanta Alumina Ltd (VAL) in Niyamgiri hills have further plunged into uncertainty as the eighth gram sabha which was held on Tuesday at Ijrupa village of Kalahandi district has rejected mining proposal atop the bauxite rich hills like previous gram sabhas.
 
All the four voters attended the proceedings which was conducted under the direct supervision of district and sessions judge and presented their views against the mining proposal of VAL in Niyamgiri. 
 
The tribals have been strongly opposing the bauxite mining proposal in all previous village level meetings held in various villages of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts . At least 12 Gram Sabhas would be conducted to decide if bauxite could be mined from Niyamgiri. 

Niyamgiri spreads across 240 sq km area covering 112 Dongria Kandhs and the tribals worship Niyam raja as their protector. In all previous village level meetings the tribals have very much excpressed their unwillingness about their opinion against mining in the hills.

According to some anti-industry activists, the area comes under Schedule V of the Constitution and Odisha Government should not have gone for mining proposal in Niyamgiri.

The Supreme Court in its April 18 order asked the Odisha government to conduct gram sabhas to ascertain the opinion of the Dongaria Kondhs, a primitive tribal group, living in Niyamgiri area.