Skip to main content

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk 

While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.
Giving reason for opposition to the project, NAPM said, “Well-aware of the deleterious impacts of mining, the villagers, organized as Mali Parvat Surakhya Samiti have been resisting the Hindalco bauxite mining project proposal since many years”, claiming, “The company has hired goons from different parts of Koraput to prevent people from expressing their dissent to the mining proposal.”
NAPM in a statement quoted a key leader of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti as stating that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report falsely claims that “there is no forest in the mining lease region, that there are no grass patches, no animals, no flora and fauna of any value and no perennial water sources or streams.”

Excerpt:

Activists who have been following this issue closely in Odisha state that about 44 villages around Mali Parbat shall be affected directly and more than 200 villages shall be affected indirectly. Villagers claim that numerous streams flow from hill or enrich the soil moisture. There are 32 perennial streams and four canals that emerge from this hill.
Nearly 2,500 families living in 44 villages rely on this water for irrigation of their fields and take up vegetable and other cultivation. Mining will significantly affect the streams and soil moisture and thereby devastating a thriving livelihoods option for the local people.
Other likely hazards due to the mining include water and soil pollution. Dumping of oil, lubricants and other waste material of the mining area will have huge adverse bearing on water, land and forest resources of the region.
Locals allege that neither the company nor the government officials have clearly explained to the villagers the adverse impact of adverse effects of mining. There is a serious complaint about the manner in which EIA process has been approached.
They contend that the EIA report for the mining project, prepared by VIMTA Laboratory Pvt Ltd of Hyderabad, has totally neglected and disregarded impact of mining on the water sources and subsequent consequence on agriculture and horticulture.
While adverse impacts on water resources is likely to be catastrophic and permanent in nature, serious land degradation is likely to be huge too. That aspect has also not been assessed and recorded in the EIA. Soil erosion due to mining and deforestation is already among the highest in Odisha. Koraput already has other bauxite mines, including Deomali.
That the region is reeling under very serious soil erosion and land degradation. Mining of Mali Parbat will surely increase manifold the rate of soil and land degradation. This area comes under the catchment area of Upper Kolab Reservoir.
Thus, erosion will lead to huge silt deposition in the Kolab reservoir which has already lost a lot of storage capacity due to massive siltation. Such siltation will greatly undermine efficiency of the reservoir in producing electricity and providing irrigation. Even the life span of the dam will be immensely threatened.
Mali Parbat is home to many rare medicinal plants and species like Hada sakada, Patala garuda, Bhuin Penga, Haladi kanda, Kalad Kanda, Anala, Bahada, Harida, Pita kanda (all are local names) etc. Mining will affect these rare medicinal plants.
Many rare species and plants like Pitakonda, Taraka konda, Kakudi plant, Charu koli plants are also available in this hill. They are part of local people’s food, nutrition and medicinal eco-system. Mining will have an adverse effect on all these rare plants. Similarly, the hills are a natural habitat of Bear, Sambar, Kutura, Peacock etc. Mining activities along with increased human ingress, vehicular movement etc. will affect the animal habitation.
Not just environmental stakes, people have direct religious and cultural connect with the hills.There is a religious place of the adivasis in the Mali Parbat known as Pakuli Pahar Gumpha (sacred cave). The deity of this religious place is worshiped by the villagers of surrounding villages Aligon, Kumbhiguda, Daleiguda, Rajaniguda, Pakijhola, Mania etc.
Many religions and cultural practices of local people are associated with Pakuli Pahar Gumpha. This old religious place will be destroyed by mining. What makes the issue hazier and more threatening is the mining company’s eagerness to get lot more land that what is required and whose affect have not been properly assessed.
It is high time the Government of Odisha heeds to the demands of this two-decades old struggle of adivasis and withdraws the proposals for bauxite mining completely.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure

Custodial death of Muslim youth: Govt of India told to ratify UN convention on torture

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, West Bengal, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has drawn to the custodial death of a Muslim youth following his torture in police custody after registering a "false case" based on manufactured records. Seeking "proper investigation" the whole incident, Roy in his plea insists, the incident legitimizes his organisations' long-standing demand "for immediate ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment." Text : Here I want to draw your kind attention to one incident of custodial torture by the Deganga police personnel and the subsequent custodial death of one Muslim man from the Other Backward Class community in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home. The name o

This Maoist justified US, western Europe's anti-Soviet stance, even Bhindranwale

By Harsh Thakor*  A glaring example of the extent to which those seeking to identify themselves as revolutionaries can go in making odd compromises with those normally considered as “class enemies” in Marxist jargon is late Kondapalli Seetharamiah. Few know that this Maoist organiser two decades ago was so enamoured by the Chinese three worlds theory that he called for a united front with the United States and other western countries against what he considered Soviet social imperialism! This wasn’t the only “compromise” Seetharamiah made during his career as a revolutionary. On Punjab he took a most eclectical stand of supporting Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, thus soft-pedalling the terrorist Khalistani movement. Among his other opportunist alliances, about which few are aware of, include support to the Akalis in Punjab, on one hand, and the NTR Telugu Desam regime in Andhra Pradesh, on the other – all part of his anti-Congress thrust. Also known as KS, this Maoist started his career as