NDTV , April 18, 2013
In a verdict that appears to recognize the rights of forest-dwelling Dongria-Kondh tribals to have a say in projects that affect their habitat, economic development and culture, the Supreme Court has said that it’s up to the gram sabhas or local self-governments to decide if the Niyamgiri Hills are home to their deity. They have been asked to share their decision within three months with the union Environment Ministry.
The mining project is a joint venture between UK-Based Vedanta Resources which is controlled by billionaire Anil Aggarwal and the state government. It is meant to supply bauxite, the main raw material for aluminium, to an alumina refinery it has set up at Lanjigarh in the Kalahandi district, about 450 kilometres from state capital. The refinery was shut in December because of a shortage of bauxite.
In 2011, the union government had refused environmental clearances to the mining project.
The Odisha government had challenged the centre’s decision in the Supreme Court, because it stood to lose thousands of crores in investment.
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