JEYPORE/KORAPUT: In an unexpected turn of events, a palli sabha convened in connection with the proposed bauxite mining in Pottangi by Nalco on Tuesday ended on a positive note with villagers lending ‘conditional’ support to the move.
Koraput Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) officials had issued notification to nine villages including Malkarabanda, Sipaiput, Erasantagurda, Katraguda, Pottangi, Sisaguda, Madamgandhi, Thuria and Karnajaguda for simultaneous conduct of the meeting. This was intended to resolve the lingering conflict between the villagers and Nalco over diversion of forest land for mining under Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006.
Affected villagers of the block submitted a charter of demands to be met prior to the functioning of the mines. This included peripheral development in mining areas, education and skill development in the villages along with permanent jobs and basic amenities to affected people by Nalco. Besides, villagers also demanded preservation of perennial streams around the mining site and setting up of a pipeline to supply water to their cultivable lands.
Contacted, Manager of Nalco PK Dwivedi said they have received a positive response from the villagers and their demands will be taken into consideration. Apprehending law and order situation, security arrangement was also put in place. Among others, Koraput ADM Rameswar Pradhan, ADM Rajendra Majhi and officials of Nalco were present.
The Government of India had granted approval to the Pottangi bauxite mining project in 2016 with a plan to invest about Rs 5,600 crore with a target exploration of 22,75,000 MT bauxite in the next 50 years. Nalco has taken up 31 development projects to be executed in the area under corporate social responsibility at an expenditure of Rs 12 crore.