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Vedanta vs Odisha Tribals: former union Minister Jual Oram, BJP write to Odisha Government to honor Supreme Court order on 'Gram Sabha' approvals
BlogPosted By: hindtodaynews on:7/22/2013 7:39:18 AM

(Jual Oram, BJP write to Odisha Government )

22nd July, 2013
Shri Kishore Chandra Deo Ji,
Hon’ble Union Minister of Tribal Affairs,
Government of India,
New Delhi.

Subject : Buxuite raising in Niyamgiri Hills, Rayagada/ Kalahandi Districts of Odisha

Dear Kishore Babu,

The urgency of writing this letter arises out of a strong apprehension of sabotage by the Odisha government in collusion with the UK based private company Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. On the sincere efforts made by this Ministry in up keeping the overall interest of the Dongria Kondh, Kutia Kondh and Jharania Kondh communities inhabiting in and around the Niyamgiri Hills spread over the districts of Rayagada and Kalahandi in Odisha. As you know, the focal centre of worship of the three major Kondh tribals of Odisha is their ‘Niyam Raja’ who is believed to be the deity residing on the Niyamgiri Hills. The Kondh tribals are emotionally connected with the well being of the Hills, so much so, that they cannot compromise with the idea of exploiting it for raising of Buxuite mining in that area. Without consulting the Grama Sabhas comprising the Kondh tribals of the area, the Odisha Government had given lease through the State owned Mining Corporation, viz: OMC in favour of the UK based Vedanta Aluminium Limited. The Ministry of Forest and Environment in the Union Government had also objected to the permission given by the Odisha Government without any prior clearance as warranted by the statutes like the PESA ACT, Forest (Conservation) Act, Forest Rights Act and the Environment Act.

Now that the honourable Supreme Court has directed to obtain the approval by the concerned Grama Sabhas taking into consideration their cultural, religious and economic concerns and objection both individual and community wise, the Odisha Government has notified to hold Grama Sabha only in 12 villages, where as more than 120 villages have Kondh population in that specified area. It would be a mockery of the order of the Apex Court if the opinion of the villagers of 120 hamlets is not taken into consideration.

The Governor of Odisha has special powers under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution to protect the tribal interests in the scheduled districts of the State. You are requested to again urge the Governor to interfere and notify in all 120 villages to hold such Grama Sabha, otherwise the situation on the ground is going out of hand as the area is also infested with the Leftist Extremism, who are exploiting the helplessness of the tribal inhabitants whose interest is jeopardized by the government inaction in Fifth Scheduled Areas under the PESA Act. I implore you, on my personal behalf and the tribal population of Odisha, to kindly interfere before the situation takes an ugly turn so far as law and order situation is concerned.

With kind regards,
Yours sincerely,

(Jual Oram)

CC: Sh. Naveen Pattnaik,
Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Govt. of Odisha
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