NAPM seeks cancellation of mining and land leases

They appealed to the state government to take steps to review and put an end to toxic and polluting industries like steel, alumina and power plants which have been facing local resistance.
Image of coal mine used for representational purposes only
Image of coal mine used for representational purposes only (File Photo | AP)

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha unit of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) on Sunday urged the newly-elected state government to put an end to the exploitation of land and natural resources by cancelling all mining and land leases that have been given to companies by the previous government in gross violation of the laws of the land.

At a convention held here, social and environmental activist Prafulla Samantara said there is a need to cancel all mining leases that have been auctioned to companies without the consent of gram sabhas and tribals and traditional forest dwellers be given pattas and community forest rights as per the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.

He said the implementation of FRA, 2006 is required through which the verdict of the people and communities will be given full respect and recognition. In last 24 years, tribals dependent on these forests, land and natural resources have been forcefully displaced, faced false and fabricated cases as well as suffered brutal violence through lathis and police firing, he alleged.

The NAPM members said the previous BJD government violated several rules and regulations including the Mineral (Auction) Rules, 2015, PESA, FRA-2006, Orissa Scheduled Areas (Transfer of Immovable Property) Regulations, Article 244 and the fifth schedule in the Constitution in auction process of mining leases in undivided Koraput, Kalahandi and Keonjhar districts.

They appealed to the state government to take steps to review and put an end to toxic and polluting industries like steel, alumina and power plants which have been facing local resistance. The mindless mining and industrialisation that was initiated by the previous government for collecting revenue for the state has been destructive for the environment, depleted natural resources and caused endless misery to people and the habitat, they said.

“There is an urgent need to enact a policy to protect non-renewable and limited resources like bauxite, manganese, chromite, iron ore and coal for the future. The new government must protect the social and cultural identity of adivasis and forest dwellers along with protection of all natural resources of the state,” NAPM advisor Samantara said and demanded withdrawal of police cases registered against innocent people fighting for their rights.

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