It has been the practice of the government of Odisha to handover land and forest of local people without asking their consent to various mining companies either in a back-door policy or using police force or both which Ganatantrik Adhikar Suraksha Sangatha, Odisha (GASS) has been opposing.
On 11th August 2017,the villagers of five villages,namely,Singaram, Biriguda, Biriguda colony, Balijodi and Odiapentah situated on foot of Kondinga Hill of Rayagada – Koraput district of southern Odisha, opposing the decision of the government to hand over the Hill to Vedanta company in such backdoor policy, have passed resolution, “not to give any patta land, forest land and community land to any mining company”. They have circulated their resolution in among various organisations and they have sent a copy also to GASS.
Here to remind you that the government of Odisha was intending to give proxy mining lease of Kodinga Hill to Vedanta companythrough Odisha Mining Corporation which came in the media on 10th January 2017. Since then local people of the area have been opposing such move of the government. The resolution also speaks that the government of Odisha handed over few acres of land to Aditya Birla Hindalco 20 years back for doing mining and constructing alumina plant. “The judgment of honourable Supreme Court on Singur case (West Bengal) speaks that if the land is kept unused then it should be handed over to the original land owner. As because the Aditya Birla company has not yet started its work so those land should be given back to its original owners”, the resolution speaks. (Odia copy of the resolution attached)
Koraput and Rayagada districts are coming under scheduled area of the constitution. The tribals and dalitsliving in three blocks, namely, Kashipur, Laxmipur and Dashamantapur, depend on streams coming from this 428.31 hectares stretched Kodinga Hill for drinking and cultivation. Agriculture is the main economy of all people of the area. They also worship Kodinga Hill as their god.
The government of Odisha had signed MOU with Hindalco in 1993 permitting later for extracting bauxite from this 81 million ton – deposited – bauxite hill. Now the government has given mining lease to ‘Odisha Mining Corporation’, a government of Odisha Unit, to transport bauxite to Lanjigada alumina plant of Vedanta with help of sub-lessee Maitri Company. Ganatantrik Adhikar Suraksha Sangathan, Odisha is opposing such transfer of proxy-mining lease to Vedanta Co.
- The government should cancel all mining lease with Vedanta and OMC for mining bauxite from Kodinga Hill and the government should take permission of the local community before taking up any decision.
- The local community should be provided individual land patta and community rights as per Forest Rights Act, 2006.
Dr. Golak BiharinNath
Email : [email protected]m