Last village says no to Niyamgiri mining
The last and 12th gram sabha held in Jarapa village in Rayagada district rejected the proposal for bauxite mining on Niyamgiri hills.
Of the 16 voters of Jarapa village, 12 persons, including six women and six men from eight families, took part in the proceedings of the gram sabha. All the 12 participants said ‘no’ to bauxite mining on the hills.
The participants were of the view that mining would severely affect their socio-cultural and religious rights over Niyamgiri hills as they considered the hills as their presiding deity. Rayagada district judge Sarat Chandra Mishra attended the meeting as observer.
The State Government held gram sabhas in 12 villages of Niyamgiri according to the April 18 order of the Supreme Court, which gave residents in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts the right to decide whether they supported bauxite mining on Niyamgiri hills.
Of the 12 gram sabhas, five were held in Kalahandi district and seven in Rayagada in villages inhabited by the Dangaria, Jharania and Kutia Kandha tribes.