The commission inquiring into the death of three tribal protesters in police firing in Orissa's Rayagada district seems to have made light of the local people's concern over bauxite mining. Justice P K Mishra of the Madras High Court, who is the sole member of the panel, observed in his recently submitted report: "Orissa cannot afford to remain backward for the sake of so-called environmental protection."
The incident took place on December 16, 2000, when pro and anti-mining groups clashed in Kashipur block of Rayagada, and the police opened fire to disperse the violent mobs (see: 'Battling bauxite', Down To Earth, 'Battling bauxite', January 15, 2001).
According to the commission, "Extraction of bauxite need not have any significant adverse impact on the environment, particularly relating to protection of water." At the same time, the panel noted in a relatively circumspect tone: "A balance has to be struck between the need for growth and necessity for protection of environment." Significantly, it has not recommended any punitive measures against the police department.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.