Skip to main content

Jayanthi Natarajan "never stood by tribals' rights" in MNC Vedanta's move to mine Niyamigiri Hills in Odisha

By Our Representative
The Odisha Chapter of the Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), which played a vital role in the struggle for the enactment of historic Forest Rights Act, 2006 has blamed former Union environment minister Jaynaynthi Natarjan for failing to play any vital role to defend the tribals' rights in the forest areas during her tenure under the former UPA government. Countering her recent statement that she rejected environmental clearance to Vendanta, the top UK-based NMC, despite tremendous pressure from her colleagues in Cabinet and huge criticism from industry, and the claim that her decision was “upheld by the Supreme Court”, the CSD said this is simply not true, and actually she "disrespected" FRA.
According to the top NGO, which is in the forefront of the struggle against Vedanta, Natarajan “at no place supported those who were fighting against the proposed mining activities of the that by the MNC in Hiyamgiri Hills. Even in her “media statement and even in the long letter written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, she has neither mentioned necessary provisions of the FRA, nor the decision of the Supreme Court of India, nor the protests of Dongaria Kondh, which finally led to the dismissal of mining in Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha.

CSD said, “The cancellation of stage-II forest clearance to Vedanta was due to the violation historic FRA enacted during UPA-I along with the historic struggle of the Dongaria Kondh to save Niyamgiri. FRA is the law of the land. This is not about Rahul Gandhi or Jayanthi Natarajan. It is about people's rights to their land and forests. This is what the Supreme Court had also held.”

The NGO further said, even the Ministry of Environmental Affairs (MoEF) “refusal for Stage-II forest clearance to Vedanta on August 24, 2010 for diversion of 660 hectares of forest land for bauxite mining in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts was based on the Forest Advisory Committee's (FAC) adverse views on violation of rights of the tribal groups and impact on the ecology and biodiversity of the area”. It added, “Even the Supreme Court did not decided on the Vedanta case; rather it left it on the gram sabhas (the village council) to finally decide whether mining would be done in the Niyamgiri Hills or not.”

According to the NGO, “Based on the Supreme Court’s direction, referendum (a process of direct democracy) was held in which 985 tribals from 12 villages (seven in Rayagada district – Serkapadi, Kesarpadi, Khambesi, Jarapa, Batudi, Lamba and Lakhpadar and five in Kalahandi – Tadijhola, Palberi, Phuldumer, Ijurupa and Kunakuda), took part and unanimously decided to reject the bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri Hills.”



Commenting on the recent statement Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and environment minsiter Prakash Jawadekar, who have decided to review all projects which have been granted environmental clearance or were rejected by the UPA regime in the wake of Natarajan's allegations, the CSD cautioned them not to review the Vedanta case. “The BJP and others who are trying to pander to the corporate lobby should remember that diversion of Niyamgiri would have been a crime under the law and all the officials concerned should have been jailed”, it insisted.

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.