Tribals at Koraput in Odisha have threatened to intensify their stir, if Hindalco went ahead with its plan of resuming bauxite mining at Mali Parbat. The mine used to feed the company’s aluminium plant at Renukoot in Uttar Pradesh.
Spread over 270 acres, the mine stopped operation in 2010 in the wake of opposition from the locals. Though bauxite excavation resumed for a brief period in 2012, the mining contractor had to halt the work, as protesters opposed transportation of the mineral.
The Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti (MPSS), a local outfit which has been spearheading the agitation, has threatened to boycott the upcoming state and general elections if the state government did not cancel the mining lease.
The agitators, drawn from about 40 villages in Sorishapodar, Hundi, Dalaiguda and Pakhajhola panchayats in Similiguda block, said their villages would be affected by the mining operation. “We demand immediate cancellation of the mining lease to the company,” said Damburudhara Khillo, president, MPSS.
“The water sources which feeds our farmland will disappear after the bauxite mining at Mali Parbat. We will be devoid of our livelihood. So, we are opposing the mining operation in the mountain,” he added.
Hindalco was granted lease for bauxite mining at Mali Parbat near Doliamba, about 20 km from Semiliguda, in November 2007. The company obtained the lease for 20 years with an approved mining plan of 6 lakh tonnes per annum. The actual mining activities started through a contractor engaged by the company in May 2008.
The hill has around 17 million tonnes bauxite reserve with ores containing 44 percent of alumina. After mining from the hill, raw bauxite was ebing transported to a depo near Tentuliguda and from there it was being carried to the company’s alumina factory in Uttar Pradesh.
Between 2008 and 2011, the company had transported around 18,000 tonnes of bauxite to its alumina refinery, sources said.