Odisha to seek six more weeks to conduct Niyamgiri Gram Sabhas

BS Reporter  |  Bhubaneswar  May 17, 2013

In its April 18 order, SC had directed the Odisha govt to conduct Gram Sabhas at Niyamgiri within three months to seek the mandate of the locals


The Odisha government today said it would seek six more weeks from the Supreme Court (SC) to conduct Gram Sabhas to decide the fate of bauxite mining at the ecologically sensitive Niyamgiri hills.

“We are going to request the apex court to grant us six more weeks for the conduct of gram sabhas, as it is not feasible to conduct these within the SC-stipulated timeline. The Sabhas will be held in 12 villages on the Niyamgiri hills,” said state law minister Maheshwar Mohanty.

In its April 18 order, SC had directed the Odisha government to conduct gram sabhas at Niyamgiri within three months to seek the mandate of the locals on the proposed bauxite mining project of Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Vedanta Aluminium (VAL), and also decide on fresh claims, if any, regarding community, individual, cultural and religious rights of the Dongria Kondh tribe residing these hills. The court had said the claims for these, to be taken up by gram sabhas, should be filed in six weeks.

According to the apex court order, the Gram Sabha decisions were to be communicated by the state government to the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests, which would decide on allowing mining at Niyamgiri within two months of securing the report.

In a letter dated May 2, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs had asked the state Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe development department to issue advertis\ements in local newspapers, informing tribals and forest dwellers in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts to file claims of religious and cultural rights, along with the individual and community rights, under the Forest Rights Act. It had urged the state government to display the notification related to holding gram sabhas, along with the details of the Supreme Court order, in all villages in the two districts, irrespective of their proximity from the mining site.

To ensure transparency was maintained in the identification of claims, copies of these notification should be sent to all civil society groups and non-governmental organisations active in these districts, it had said.

However, as it was unable to find clarity on the conduct of gram sabha proceedings in the Supreme Court order, the state Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe department had consulted the law department.

Opening the Niyamgiri bauxite mines, spread over Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, is crucial for the functioning of Vedanta Aluminium’s one-million-tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh. The refinery, which depends entirely on bauxite sourced from outside, has been shut since December 5, 2012, due to unavailability of the commodity.


17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Anti-Vedanta cry gets shriller- Tribals made aware of ill- effects of Mining | kracktivist
  2. Trackback: CriticCritical Observations on the Implementation of the Status Report – Forest Rights Act , 2006 #Mustshare | kracktivist
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  4. Trackback: India – Put Gram Sabhas in charge of all social sector schemes | kracktivist
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  6. Trackback: Odisha – Niyamgiri tribe’s question on Gram Sabha issue #Video | kracktivist
  7. Trackback: Anti-Vedanta campaign gathers steam | kracktivist
  8. Trackback: Activist alleges Odisha govt trying to manipulate SC order on bauxite mining | kracktivist
  9. Trackback: Odisha- Gram sabha ball set to roll for Vedanta bid to mine at Niyamgiri Jills | kracktivist
  10. Trackback: Odisha Govt tries every trick in the book with SC Niyamgiri verdict #mustshare | kracktivist
  11. Trackback: #India – Tribal affairs ministry `turning tables’ on SC order on Niyamgiri mining rights #WTFnews | kracktivist
  12. Trackback: Bauxite mining: Tribal ministry objects to Odisha’s move against SC order | kracktivist
  13. Trackback: Odisha Government diluting apex court order: petitioner #Niyamgiri #Vedanta | kracktivist
  14. Trackback: Rallying cry: Dongria stand firm against Vedanta mine | kracktivist
  15. Trackback: Criticised, Odisha weighs expanding scope of locals in deciding Vedanta fate #goodnews | kracktivist
  16. Trackback: Vedanta’s #CSR : Resettlement ‘prison’ and false arrests at Lanjigarh #WTFnews | kracktivist
  17. Trackback: Vedanta mining: amid Tribal ministry’s protest Odisha fixes Gram Sabha dates | kracktivist

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