Battle for Niyamgiri

Published: Thursday 25 July 2013


Ministry reiterates its stand that mining will affect the Dongria Kondhs who worship Niyamgiri hills which has rich deposits of bauxite
Author:Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava
More than four months after the gram sabhas of tribal villages in Odisha's Niyamgiri hills rejected multinational company Vedanta’s proposal to undertake bauxite mining in the area, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has said a final “no” to the project. The ministry has reiterated its stand that mining cannot be allowed on the Niyamgiri hills because it will affect the rights of the Dongria Kondhs, a particularly vulnerable tribal community that worships the Niyamgiri hills as its deity.
People veto bauxite mining, but Vedanta is unlikely to let go of the bounty
Author:Sayantan Bera
JULY 18th to August 19th: the monsoon of 2013 will go down in the history of India for hosting the country’s first environment referendum. Deep inside the forests of south-western Odisha, in the Niyamgiri hills, people of small tribal hamlets were asked to voice their opinion on bauxite mining in their habitat.
Biodiverse Gandhamardan where mining attempts were abandoned earlier after massive public protests also on the radar of metal giant
Author:T N Vijayalakshmi
Vedanta Alumina Limited's (VAL's) hopes of sourcing bauxite from Niyamgiri hills for its refinery is fading fast following the Dongria Kandhs’ emphatic “no” to mining in their place of worship. Even before the referendum on Niyamgiri drew to a close with the last of the 12 scheduled palli sabhas being held on August 19, the Odisha government and VAL authorities started scouting for alternative mineral sources to feed the one million tonne per annum (mtpa) capacity alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in the foothills of Niyamgiri.
A look at how the key players involved in the tussle to control Niyamgiri hills will move forward
Author:Richard Mahapatra
The palli sabha held at Jarapa village in Rayagada district on August 19 voted unanimously against the proposal to mine the Niyamgiri hill range. Jarapa is the last of the 12 villages to hold village council meetings to decide the fate of mining and metals giant Vedanta's proposal to mine the hills for bauxite. Jarapa has 16 adult village members, and the 12 who were present in the palli sabha opposed the proposal. All the 12 palli sabhas have overwhelmingly said “no” to mining in the region.
First gram sabha
It is one of the 12 villages identified by Odisha government for holding India's first environment referendum
Author: Sayantan Bera
The first palli sabha or village council meeting to decide the fate of mining in Niyamgiri was held at Serkapadi village in Rayagada district. Its verdict was unequivocal and resounding. Thirty-eight of the 46 adult members of the forest village present at the meeting spoke one after the other, rejecting the proposed bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hill ranges.
Second gram sabha
Second palli sabha in Niyamgiri deals double blow to Odisha government
Author: Sayantan Bera
Two days of pouring rain did little to dampen the spirit of the forest people of Niyamgiri. The second palli sabha or village council meeting at Kesarpadi in Rayagada district took a critical decision today: it cancelled Odisha state government’s proposed settlement of community and religious claims to the forests. The tribal hamlet also unanimously rejected the proposed bauxite mining inside the forest hills.
Third gram sabha
Palli sabha takes a dig at Odisha government for lack of education and health facilities
Author: Sayantan Bera
In a repeat of the previous two palli sabha decisions, the non-tribal forest hamlet of Tadijhola unanimously rejected proposed bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills today.
Fourth gram sabha
The fourth rejection in a row for proposed bauxite mining was expected; that a diminutive tribal wanted to remain ‘illiterate’ forever wasn’t
Author: Sayantan Bera
Kunakadu, a tribal hamlet in Kalahandi district of Odisha echoed the decision of the previous three palli sabhas on Wednesday. The scenic hill top village unanimously rejected proposed bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hill range. Early on, the mood was set by an animated Tunguru Majhi who spoke for 20 minutes, directing his words at district judge Pramod Kumar Jena, appointed observer to the village council proceedings by the Supreme Court of India. Jena listened to Majhi with rapt attention, taking notes in between.
Fifth gram sabha
Attending Member of Parliament asks Odisha government to include 112 villages
Author: Sayantan Bera
The fifth palli sabha, taking a cue from previous ones, unanimously rejected proposed bauxite mining inside Niyamgiri hills. The village council meeting was held at Palberi village in Kalahandi district of Odisha. Fifteen of the 16 adult voters from the forest village were in attendance. All spoke against mining and asserted their religious and cultural rights over the entire Niyamgiris, spread across Rayagada and Kalahandi districts.
Sixth gram sabha
Sixth rejection in a row for proposed bauxite mining; tribal affairs ministry team to visit Odisha to assess claims beyond 12 villages
Author: Sayantan Bera
Batudi, a Dongria Kondh tribal hamlet in Rayagada district of Odisha, has also rejected the proposed mining in the Niyamgiri hill range. The decision of the palli sabha or village council meeting on Saturday marked the sixth rejection in a row for Vedanta Aluminium Limited which wants to source bauxite from the Niyamgiri hills that the Dongria Kondh and other forest dwellers consider sacred.
Seven gram sabha
Seven straight rejections means a majority of the 12 villages have said ‘no’ to proposed bauxite mining
Author: Sayantan Bera
Broken sewing machines could be seen strewn around as rains poured down over the tribal and dalit hamlet of Phuldumer on Monday and its palli sabha (village council) gave its verdict on mining proposed in the Niyamgiri hills. It was the seventh straight rejection for Vedanta Aluminium Limited, the London stock exchange-listed metals giant, which wants the Niyamgiri hills in Odisha for top quality bauxite.
Eighth gram sabha
It’s the eighth village to reject proposed mining in a row in Niyamgiri hills
Author: Sayantan Bera
The irony was unmistakable. To take the opinion of four forest dwellers belonging to one family on the proposed bauxite mining next door, the entire state machinery was present in full swing in Ijurupa village on July 30. Somewhere in his 80s, Labanya Gouda was taken aback by the overbearing presence of 15 cars, government officials, paramilitary forces, a district judge, scores of journalists and activists at his doorstep. The family huddled inside the tent with a heavy downpour outside.
As the date for gram sabha meetings to decide the fate of mining in Niyamgiri hills nears, activists and Dongria Kondhs allege Odisha government conspiring to ensure no claim of religious rights is made over the proposed bauxite mining area
Author:T Vijaylaxmi
Three days before beginning of the scheduled series of the much-hyped gram sabha (village council) meetings in Odisha for taking a decision on bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hill range, Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti (NSS) and representatives of Dongria Kondh people on Monday alleged that government was trying to manipulate records to favour bauxite mining in Niyamgiri for metals and mining giant Vedanta.
Supreme Court asks gram sabhas to see if Vedanta’s bauxite mine harms religious rights
Author: Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava
ON APRIL 18, the Supreme Court put the fate of Vedanta’s bauxite minining project in Odisha in the hands of people. It asked gram sabhas of the affected villages in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts to decide whether the tribals living in and around Niyamgiri hills have religious rights over it. Their “rights have to be preserved and protected”, it said.


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