Orissa tribals protest against setting up of Kalahandi Bauxite mining factory

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Kalahandi (Orissa), June 7 (ANI): The tribals in Orissa's Kalahandi District staged a protest against the setting up of Bauxite mining factory 'Vedanta Aluminium Ltd', as they assert it has deprived them of their livelihood.

The tribals claim that due to mining activities by the Vedanta, the water flow from Niyamgiri Hill is drying up

"When Vedanta came here, life here was totally disrupted. We lost our livelihood. It has not given any jobs to us; we don't have jobs, no work, nothing how will we survive? Our cultivable land has been destroyed due to the dust and pollution," said Saindri Batra, a tribal.

The tribals further said that with the pollution of streams and strings, the agricultural lands would become barren.

An NGO report has declared that Vedanta's mining plans would affect around 8,000 people.

"If mining at the hills start, then the water left in the Bauxite, it will not be there. The aluminia and aluminiun smelters will contaminate the water after their use and the water will get finished in Kalahandi and Orissa," said Vandana Shiva, an activist.

"We have already seen that many people who came here have complained about pollution and some said that several have died due to contaminated water. Therefore, the pollution will spread in whole of Orissa," he added.

Vedanta official, however, claimed the planned project would not affect the tribals or the environment.

"As far as we are concerned, we are committed to a better, green, industrialized, economical, and at the end of the day, we would like to see the smile on the face of each one of us here, each one of the villagers here, each one of the person who is residing in our surroundings," said S. K. Patnaik, Vice- President Vedanta Aluminium Ltd.

A 2005 report of the Central Empowered Committee said that Vedanta had 'deliberately and consciously concealed the involvement of the forest land in the project.' (ANI)

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