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

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.