India blocks bauxite mining plans in indigenous homeland
The proposal by mining company Vedanta Resources to establish a bauxite mine on sacred indigenous land in India’s Orissa state has been rejected by the Indian Government.
The Dongria Kondh tribe live harmoniously with nature and are ecologically dependent on the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa, where Vedanta – an Indian and British firm – have been accused of breaches of environmental law.
From an article in the Telegraph:
There have been serious violations of environment protection acts. There is no emotion, no politics, no prejudice… I have taken the decision in a purely legal approach.
–Jairam Ramesh, Indian environment minister
Vedanta has staunchly denied any violations or wrongdoing.
The cause of the Dongria Kondh has been taken up by celebrity activists Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley and Bianca Jagger as well as prominent human rights campaign groups Amnesty International and Survival International.
From an article in the Guardian:
I hope it will send a signal to the big corporations that they can never assume that might is right. It’s a big victory for the little people.
The Wall Street Journal reports that despite the Indian government’s rejection of the mine plans, Vedanta has no intention of abandoning its bauxite and aluminum projects in Orissa.