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Villagers oppose Vedanta survey work in Koraput

TNN | Sep 18, 2014, 11.41 AM IST

KORAPUT: Another tribal revolt against mining is in the offing as villagers are gearing up to protest against government decision of providing prospecting license (PL) to Vedanta Aluminium Limited (Sesa Sterlite group) for laterite mining at Danga Deula hill in Koraput district.

Villagers have condemned the survey work of the hill being jointly carried out by the mining and company officials since August 21. “We will not allow any type of mining at Danga Deula hill. Mining will not only affect the ecology of the region but also threaten our lives as it will give rise to soil-erosion and hit agricultural activities,” said Bhagaban Muduli of Danga Deula.

After Vedanta’s hope to mine Niyamgiri hill in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts for bauxite was rejected at palli sabhas last year, the Anil Agrawal-led company had applied for laterite deposits in Koraput and Rayagada districts as it contains certain percentage of bauxite for its Lanjigarh refinery.

Recently, the state government had issued PL to Vedanta to explore laterite mine at Dango Deula hill spread over 150 hectare. Locals have questioned the government’s decision to provide PL to Vedanta for Danga Deula, two km from Koraput railway station, and adjacent to the catchment area of Kolab reservoir. Also, a SOG training centre is coming up near Danga Deula.

“If locals oppose to mining at Danga Deula then their opinion should be respected. If required, we will also support them,” said MLA (Jeypore) Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

Officials said the PL is valid for the next two years and during this period the company is permitted to mine around 50 tonne laterite. If the bauxite content is low, the company will be granted 20 years of lease, however, if bauxite content is high then the company has to apply afresh for mining lease. “We had surveyed around 50 hectare of land at Danga Deula. After the rain, survey works will resume on the hill,” said district mining officer (Koraput) Sailaja Prasad Nanda.

 

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