Second gram sabha too says no to mining at Niyamgiri

Published: 23rd July 2013 08:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2013 10:28 AM   |  A+A-

The second gram sabha in Rayagada district went ahead on expected lines on Monday with the tribals rejecting the proposal of bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills. A resolution was passed at the gram sabha at Kesarpadi village asserting the right of the tribals over Niyamgiri hills for religious and cultural reasons and rejecting the proposal of mining on it. Kesarpadi is a small village with 16 Dongria Kondh families.

Rayagada District Collector Sashi Bhusan Padhi told this paper that out of the 36 voters in the village, 33 persons attended the gram sabha. Padhi said the gram sabha was conducted smoothly without any problem.

The first gram sabha in Serkapalli village held on July 18 had also rejected the proposal of mining in Niyamgiri hills. Gram sabhas will be held in five more villages in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts to decide on the issue. The gram sabhas are being held as per the April 18 order of the Supreme Court, which had said that the tribals should decide whether bauxite mining should be allowed at Niyamgiri hills, which is a chain of 4,500-foot high mountains and inhabited by about 2,000 Dongria Kondhs.

Meanwhile, the Centre is likely to move the Supreme Court against the State Government’s decision to limit the number of gram sabhas to 12 instead of 112. Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo recently sought the intervention of Odisha Governor over the State’s decision to convene gram sabhas (village level meetings) in 12 villages of Kalahandi and Rayagada districts on Niyamgiri mining.

Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti (NSS), the tribal organisation spearheading the anti-mining agitation, has demanded gram sabhas in all 112 villages located on this hill range instead of 12 villages. A group of tribal Congress MLAs, led by former minister Dambarudhar Ulaka, submitted a memorandum to Governor S C Jamir on Saturday and demanded that gram sabhas should be held in all 205 tribal villages dependent on Niyamgiri hills.

* A resolution was passed at the gram sabha at Kesarpadi village asserting the right of the tribals over Niyamgiri hills for religious and cultural reasons and rejecting the proposal of mining on it.

* Kesarpadi is a small village with 16 Dongria Kondh families.

* Out of the 36 voters in the village, 33 persons attended the gram sabha.

* The first gram sabha in Serkapalli village held on July 18 had also rejected the proposal of mining in Niyamgiri hills.

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