Uncertainty over mining at Niyamgiri as 4th GS rejects idea

Bhubaneswar: Fate of the proposed Rs 5,000 crore mining project atop Niyamgiri Hills by the state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) has become further uncertain as the tribals of Kalahandi and Rayagada districts rejected the idea fearing adverse impact on their religious and cultural rights.
 
The latest rejection to the proposal of bauxite mining atop Niyamgiri Hills came from Kunakadu village under Lanjigarh block of Kalahandi district in a Gram Sabha meeting today.
 
Of the 22 members of the Gram Sabha, 21 persons including 12 women attended the meeting and gave their opinion against mining at Niyamgiri Hills.
 
The people of Kunakadu repeated the sentiments expressed at three earlier gram sabhas earlier held at Tadijhola in Kalahandi district Serkapadi and Kesarpadi villages in Rayagada district.
 
While next Gram Sabha would take place tomorrow in Lanjigarh block's Palberi village, Fuldumer and Ijurupa villagers would present their views at Gram Sabhas scheduled to be organised on July 29 and July 30, respectively.
 
The Supreme Court in its April 18 order asked the Odisha government and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to conduct Gram Sabhas to know the views of the villagers living in Niyamgiri Hills areas.
 
Earlier, the state government's OMC in a joint venture with Vedanta's sister concern Sterlite had planned to start bauxite mining atop Niyamgiri Hills, which was barely some meters from the aluminium company's refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district.
 
With the villagers opposing, the apex court in its April 18 judgement asked the state and the central government to take views of local tribals as they opposed the idea because they consider Niyamgiri their presiding deity.