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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”