Deforestation And Displacement Of Tribals Environmental Sciences Essay

Today we are living in a globalized world where we measure everything in terms of profit and with a sole aim of development. We lead our lives even without looking back for once. This competition motive may take us to a developed, technologically advanced era, but we are losing our own lives by destroying the environment without thinking for the consequences. Environment before fifty years and the condition of today has a hell and heaven difference. In the name of development we are using all the natural resources that are available to us, and displacing indigenous people from their own land, to construct big dams, industries and urbanizing that area to get a better employment opportunity and to raise our standard of living, but we are forgetting that nature has also limitation, it is also losing its automatic cleansing capacity. People who are forced to flee from a disaster or conflict usually receive sympathetic attention and international aid from outside. The same cannot be said for the millions of people worldwide who have been displaced by development, because everyday this process is continuing in various parts of the world. The argument that has been put forth by so called developed and modern people that displacement is necessary for this traditional society to change them into a modern and developed society. Seen in this light, large-scale, capital-intensive development projects accelerated the pace toward a brighter and better future. If people were uprooted along the way, that was deemed a necessary evil or even an actual good, since it made them more susceptible to change. In recent decades, however, a new development paradigm has been articulated, one that promotes poverty reduction, environmental protection, social justice, and human rights. In this paradigm, development is seen as both bringing benefits and imposing costs. Among its greatest costs has been the displacement of millions of vulnerable people. If people have to push out from their place for any natural disaster then media come out with various reports but when people are displaced everyday for any mega projects then nobody shows sympathy to them. Odisha is a State which is the best example of how developmental projects exploiting innocent people and in the light of human rights these developmental projects are showing the way towards destruction.

“A state gifted with rich mineral resources, yet so poor”, “Plenty of resources, plenty of poverty too”, “why Orissa is so poor with so much abundant natural resources?” “Orissa’s poverty unexplainable”, these are among the most talked about statements on Orissa. A summary of the standard and typical statements and interpretations on the state and its situations would suggest that the State of Orissa is endowed with plenty of natural resources like forests, inland water, mineral deposits, raw materials, very beautiful long coastal belt full of natural beauty and amazing lake like chiliki, which the most essential elements required for pursuing the goal of modern development. Its long coastline combined with potentially viable ports inspires for developing Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and turning Orissa into one of the most industrially developed states. Planners, developers, and Government, all are tensed that even after all these mega projects and natural beauty, Odisha is still poor and people are compelled to starve. Surveyors and researchers point out that the State has come one-step down from an All India rank of 14th in 1960-61 to that of 13th in 1997-98 in terms of Industrialization. The poverty ratio of the state is still one of the highest in the country. The state is generally taken as a poor, traditional, backward and non- industrial State and it is suggested that there is no way out to deal with the problems of poverty unless a process of rapid industrialization is initiated.

However the Government is using big capitalist to make noticeable change in the State by investing multi-dollar projects in various areas where natural resources are easily available. The entire mineral, forest, water, and fertile agricultural land are handed over to national and multinational corporations to ruthlessly loot the state and pauperize local populations. Today Odisha is the symbol of starvation deaths, farmers’ suicides, large-scale labour migration, destitution and poverty. Its own rulers are throwing away the natural resources to the multinational sharks for their super profit. But Odisha also has become the beacon of hope for the struggling workers and peasants of this country in their heroic struggle against the predatory mining and industrialization of the state uprooting the toilers of the soil. Massive people’s resistance is going along the length and breadth of the state. Some prominent ones are Kalinga Nagar, Niyamgiri, anti-POSCO (Korean Steel Company), and anti-Vedanta University people’s struggles.

CHAPTER-2

AN OVERVIEW

Since Independence, different rulers in Odisha have sold the mineral resources cheap, and have given very low priority to agriculture, which has resulted in a phenomenal drain of mineral wealth and absolute impoverishment of broad masses of Oriya people. Even after more than sixty years of Independence the social indicators is leading the country in chronic poverty and starvation deaths, massive labour migration, displacement, under-nutrition, high maternal and infant mortality rate, etc. Though Odisha is very rich in natural resources like land forest, and minerals, its indices in human development are very low, in fact the lowest in India.

(Source- www.HYPERLINK “http://www.mapsofindia.com/”mapsHYPERLINK “http://www.mapsofindia.com/”ofindia.com)

There are thirty districts in Odisha and the districts are divided in to various mining zones by the State Pollution Board according to the mining sector and its impact on environment. These are,

Zone-1 Keonjhar, Sundergarh Iron & Manganese ore area

Zone-2 Angul Talcher coalfield area.

Zone-3 Sambalpur, Jharsuguda coalfield area.

Zone-4, Jajpur,Dhenkanal & Keonjhar Chromite area.

Zone-5 Koraput Rayagada Kalahandi Bauxite area.

Zone-6 Biramitrapur Limestone & Dolomite belt

Zone-7 Baula-Nuasahi chromite belt of Keonjhar and adjacent Balasore district.

Zone-8 Gandhamardhan & adjacent areas of iron ore in Keonjhar

Zone-9 Mayurbhanj district, Iron ore & China clay area.

Zone-10 Beach sand mining area of Ganjam district and adjacent Puri district.

Zone-11 Tumudibandh (Gangam, Gajapati and adjacent areas)- Graphite area

Zone-12 Bolangir-Baragarh areas- Bauxite and Graphite

Zone-13 Kalahandi district around Titlagarh- Graphite, Quartzite and Gemsstones

Zone-14 Boudh, Sonepur & Phulbani area- Small deposits of bauxite and graphite, but

potential area for coal, diamond, gold, gemstones and dimensional stones

Zone-15 Cuttack adjacent Dhenkanal areas & Khurda district

Zone-16 Western Orissa, Malkalgiri & Nawarangapur, Nuapara district- Good potential for limestone & dolomite, China clay, iron ore, tin ores, bauxite, besides gold, diamond, graphite, gemstones and dimensional stones

While talking about mines and ores Odisha has 60% of bauxite reserve, 25% coal, 28% iron, 92% nickel, and 28% manganese reserve in India. It has rich forests, agricultural land and a long coastline with the most beautiful beaches in the world like Chandipur. The most important thing is that Odisha is a State where all type of natural resources are available, so the State can be used and developed for tourists and it can earn huge amount of money out of tourism, but regretfully the available mines and ores are being used for industrial establishment in the name of development and the tourism side has been neglected by the Government since a long. Perhaps this is the reason that the State is poor and its resources are neither used by good purposes and in a proper way, but are only exploited by the multi-dollar companies. It is one of the poorest states in India in a wide variety of socio-economic indicators. It has the lowest per capita income and very high below poverty level compared to all-India average. Odisha’s Human Development Index compared with other states is 27. Inspite of various mega projects that have been taken by the Government, the number people below poverty line and unemployment is increasing, the annual rate of growth in the year 1993 94 to 2003-04 was 1.75% compared to the all India grant of 6.19%. “The National Infrastructure Index was 107, while for Odisha it was 75. The development policy pursued by successive government in Odisha after Independence produced massive poverty and displacement in Odisha. The National Advisory Council estimates 90 lakh people have been displaced from different development projects in Odisha.”

CHAPTER-3

MINING OPERATION AND MAGNITUDE OF DISPLACEMENT

“Mining and displacement caused by mega projects like big dams and senseless industrialization is one of the most important factors in the present predicament of Odisha. Mining is a very large factor in large-scale deforestation in Odisha. From 1980 to 2005 the Government of Odisha has given permission for mining in 15,386 hectares of forestland.” “Odisha’s contribution is second in India regarding the income from mining sector in India. According to the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) in the year 2004-2005 out of the total minerals extracted, 10% was from Odisha, the market price of which was Rs. 5,820 crores at that time. Metals comprise the main component in the mineral extraction in Odisha.”

There have been a lot of changes in the mining sector in Odisha. If one takes into account the data shows that the market price of 1997-98, it has increased three times. In 1997-98 the price of total minerals extracted in Odisha was Rs. 2,237 crores. From 1997-98 to 2001-02 it grew by 6%, but from year 2002-03 it grew at a phenomenal rate by 27%. The reason being globalized modern market and the growing investment sector, which plays a vital role in this regard.

According to income from minerals, Odisha’s main two mineral resources are coal and iron ore. “In the year 2004-05 the income from coal was 46%, and 35% from iron or other main minerals one chromite 12%, and the other bauxite 2%. Due to stiff resistance in bauxite mining areas like Kashipur, Niyamgiri and Gandhmardhan, exploitation of bauxite is not high in Odisha until Nalco bauxite mining and alumina complex was established in early 1980s. In Panchpatmalli which is in Koraput district, the local Adivasis (tribals) are resisting bauxite mining by Hindalco Company and others.” “According to IBM, Odisha had also extracted minor minerals worth 45 crore US dollars in the year 2004-05. By the year 2004-05 mineral extraction was in done in 99,952 hectares. In the year 2005, 605 leases were granted in Odisha for mining, out of which around 45% was not functional. Odisha Mining Corporation controls around 20% of mines. Most of the districts, except Jajpur and Angul, are predominantly tribal; they have been evicted from their traditional habitats through predatory mining. Mining is one of the major reasons for the displacement of Adivasis but they are putting up stiff resistance to mining in Niyamgiri, Deomali, Khandadhar, Kashipur and Keonjhar as they donot want to be displaced from their soil where they are residing since time immemorial. Apart from that mining has caused widespread deforestation, soil erosion and degradation, and drying up of water sources. The mining trade is extremely exploitative and messy in Odisha, where successive rulers of Odisha have given mines to national and international big capital at a throw away price.

After the economic reforms in 1991, the process has accelerated, and various policies and sector specific policies have been proving as catalyst for these big companies to start partnership and to inaugurate their projects. “For bauxite and manganese minerals, the Government of Odisha gets royalty from Rs. 20 to 25 a tonne, while the international price is about Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000 per tonne.” Khandadhar iron ore mines, which will displace about 30 villages, are being given as  captive mines to POSCO who will make super profit only from mining, apart from its steel plant at Jagatsinghpur. POSCO is facing stiff resistance from both these places.

Displacement

A conservative estimate puts the number of displaced people from Independence to the end of the millennium at about  1 crore. It is one-fourth of the present population of Odisha.  Almost 80% of the people displaced are Adivasis and Dalits because where they live, the natural resources are also available in plenty of amount in those hilly areas. It is shocking but true that most of the displacement took place in the areas of Adivasi districts of west and south Odisha, including districts like Sundergarh, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj, which are predominantly Adivasi districts, where most of the large dams, mines and factories are located.

The following Table shows the amount of land and village lost due to mega projects.

Type of project

No of villages

displaced/

affected

No of families

displaced/

affected

Total land

acquired (in

hectare)

mines

79

3143

10,947.00

industries

177

10704

48,358.00

Thermal power

73

2426

3155.31

Irrigation/hydro power

1181

64903

595918.6

total

1446

81176

623463.94

(Source – Kundan Kumar “Dispossessed and displaced: A brief paper on tribal issues in Orissa.” epgorissa.orgApril 2007.)

“The large dam at Hirakud on Mahanadi River was the first mega development project in post-independent Odisha,  which submerged more than 1.53 lakhs of fertile agricultural land and displaced around 350 villages in the then districts of Sambalpur. Nobody knows their fate now. The undivided district of Koraput is the tragic story of tribal displacement and destitution in India. The Adivasis like kandhas, bandas and kolhas of Koraput, who were once the lords of the forests, now work as casual and manual labourers in different industrial centres and their wives work as maid servants. First they were displaced in the Kolab and Machkund dams, and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at Sunabeda in the 1960s and again in Nalco Alumina Refinery and mines at Damanjodi and Indravati Dam in the 1980s and 1990s. Rourkela Steel Plant displaced hundreds of Adivasi villages in Sundergarh district in the early decades after independence; Rengali Dam displaced more than 250 villages in then undivided Sambalpur and Dhekanal districts. It was supposed to be a multipurpose dam, after spending thousands of crores and displacing lakhs of farmers it could irrigate only 10% of the proposed command area. After 1990s,  thousands of acres of Adivasi land were acquired for setting up the steel hub at Kalinga Nagar. Vedanta Aluminium Limited has displaced scores of villages in Lanjigarh Block to set up the alumina refinery polluting and poisoning the entire area which has an adverse impact on local agriculture. Thousands of acres of fertile land all over the state were acquired for thermal power stations and other projects. People of Baliapal fought against the national missile testing range in the 1980s and successfully stopped it, thus preventing the displacement of hundreds of prosperous villages. People of Gopalpur in Ganjam district under the banner of Gana Sangram Samity fought a heroic battle against TATAs in 1990 and successfully stalled it, though TATAs still have 3,500 acres in their possession. In the early 1990s the fishermen of Chilka fought against the privatization of Chilka Lake for industrial shrimp cultivation.”

“After economic liberalization, the successive governments of Odisha have signed hundreds of memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with national and international corporate houses. 43 MoUs have been signed for steel plants alone, which will require 4,013 million tons of iron ore for a total installed capacity to produce 58.04 million tons of steel. Decades of destructive development projects have totally pauperized and dispossessed the rural poor in Odisha, overwhelmingly the Adivasis and Dalits. It has deprived them of land, water and forests. Without any sources of gainful employment in their own villages, they migrate to other states to work as contract and casual labourers. The loss of agricultural land and drying up of water sources has endangered the food security of the rural poor.”

“The Donghria Kondhs are resisting bauxite mining by Vedanta in Niyamgiri hills. The farmers of Dhinkia, Gobindpur, Patna and Nuagaon are fighting against the TATA’S proposed steel plant by POSCO in Jagatsinghpur district under the banner of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samity. In Kalinga Nagar, the Adivasis under the banner of Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch have put up a heroic resistance against the TATA’s proposed steel plant. The adivasis under the banner of Vishthapan Viredhi Janmanch have put up a heroic against the TATA’s proposed steel plant.”

The Adivasis of Kashipur are fighting against bauxite mining and alumina refinery for the past 15 years under the banner of Prakrutik Sampad Suraksha Samity. There is a struggle going on against bauxite mines in Deomali in Koraput district, and also against displacement caused by a big dam at lower Sukhtel in Bolangir district. The Adivasis in Narayan Patna Block in Koraput district are fighting against bondage and alienation of their land. To keep the situation under control Odisha Government often using illegal detention as a weapon and in some instances are there where police has fired bullets in extreme conditions and killed Adivasis on the spot. For example “the police fired on the peaceful crowd in Maikanch, in Kashipur Block of Rayagada district and killed 3 people who were protesting against Utkal Alumina in Kashipur. It has detained scores of activists of Kashipur struggle for months on false criminal charges. Since the past six months inhuman combing operations are going on in Narayan Patna where the cobra, central paramilitary forces and state armed police go on demolishing Adivasi homes, sexually assaulting Adivasi women, destroying their household belongings and brutally beating up the male members.”

What we are witnessing in Odisha and other places in India is a kind of revolutions generated by tribals demanding the protection of their rights and which ends in blood and dead-bodies. The Government of India has launched Operation Green Hunt to handover the rich mines, forests, water resources and agricultural land to national and international corporate houses. Operation Green Hunt seeks to open up mineral resources for appropriation and plunder. As per the Ministry of Mines, the states that fall under the proposed area of Operation Green Hunt, Andhra Pradesh Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Bengal, account for 59% of the country’s mineral production. In the period 2006-2009 environmental clearance was given to 120 projects to either expand existing or to open new mines in Jharkhand and Odisha. These mineral rich areas are home to the poorest of the poor and mostly Adivasis and Dalits. The state has launched a brutal repression to suppress all the democratic movements which oppose handing over their land, water and forests to profit-hungry corporations. But the peasants, workers and Adivasis of Odisha have refused to buckle under state pressure; they have put up stiff resistance to corporate plunder and forcible eviction all over the state. Niyamgiri, Jagatsinghpur and Kalinga Nagar have become advanced outposts of anti-imperialist resistance.

CHAPTER-4

IMPACT OF MINING AND SPECIAL FOCUS ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

The exploitation of mineral resources through surface and underground mining has in the past caused a wide range of environmental problems such as health degradation, air, water and noise pollution, decline in agricultural production, deforestation, displacement and other socio-economic impacts. However, over the past number of years, stakeholders in the industry have been striving to avoid and mitigate the potential detrimental effects of mining on fragile ecosystems and local communities. Governments are  increasingly formulating and adopting policies to ensure the sustainable development of their country’s mining industry and mining companies are striving to be better environmental citizens. Environmental groups have become increasingly involved in mining disputes. However, a lot has to be achieved to ensure mining in carried out in a sustainable way. 

There are various problems which arise due to mining sectors. Such as,

Adverse impact on Land, Atmosphere, Water Regime, Ecology and Society.

Increase in temperature in the area- due to industrial activity and decrease in vegetation.

Drilling and blasting contribute to explosive fumes.

Changes in surface and ground water regime.

Pollution of surface water bodies

– Run off from mines

– Leaching from dumps

Noise pollution due to blasting and subsequent vibration drives away wild animals.

The present Government minomics is resulting in decreasing in breeding of various aquatic animals, such as crocodiles and the Olive Reedley tortoises. Mining operations cut off the corridors and results in elephants deaths and most of the time men-elephant conflicts. The mining companies must be asked to regulate blasting time which is ideally 9a.m. to 11 a.m. but very sadly these are not being implemented by the State Government. The ground water is polluted and all the rivers have lost their natural cleansing systems. Various operational methods like drilling, blasting, hauling, loading, transporting, crushing causes noise and air pollution by fugitive emissions of gases like methane, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide and it ultimately results in Green house gas effect and acid rain fall. The water is used for spraying haul roads; therefore it leads to excess exploitation of ground water resources. Run-off water causes water pollution leading to harm to the aquatic animals and sea plants. To mitigate the problem, the Environmental action plan should be regulated which include Domestic Effluent Treatment Plant, Workshop effluent treatment plant, Mine Water Discharge Sedimentation plant, Dust Suppression majors, tree plantation, and spreading for Bio reclamation and environmental monitoring. It also leads to climate change and the bio diversity areas of Odisha is being adversely affected by the mining operations. “Never before have had wild animals and habitat faced the kind of threat they face today and just as dangerous is the threat to the survival of species from habitat destruction. Ecological destruction due to lopsided development projects and organized poaching has threatened the very existence of the species. The current paradigm of development has resulted not only in the depletion of natural resources of the state, but also threatens to wipe out irreplaceable ecosystems. According to reports, more than 100 open cast iron ore mines covering over 60,000 hectares of land area is in operation and maximum area is under illegal operation within Keonjhar forest division. Orissa’s Baitarani Elephant Reserves (ERs) in Keonjhar and Jharkhand’s Dalma wildlife sanctuary of Singhbhum ERs, both corridors have been virtually cut-off because of the mining activities. The Schedule-I ‘Gharial’ crocodile is also under threat. The sensitive crocodiles are fast vanishing from the river systems of the country. The ground water experts and Odisha’s Pollution Control Board scientists have declared the alarming situation. According to the wildlife conservation strategy, 2002, lands falling within 10 kms of the boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries should be notified as ESAs under provisions of Environment Protection Act, 1986. Acting on the orders of the apex court, the ministry of Environment and Forests had written to all states in 2006 to identify such areas. Declaration of such areas surrounding protected areas is vital in order to safeguard the interests of wildlife by preventing disturbing activities like mining or industries being located close to their borders.”

CHPTER-5

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION OF DISPLACED PEOPLE

Out of 414 principal tribes found in the country, as many as 62 ethnic groups are found in the old hilly districts of Oridha. Statistical figures say, till 2000, about 29 lakh people have been directly affected by development projects. Their problems are uncountable and some of them are as follows,

Common property turns into State property or you can say, nature turns into property.

No compensation could be adequate for them, who have lost their culture, monuments, art and natural habitats and togetherness and kinship.

Impediments towards rights to development.

It also leads to child labour and child prostitution in that area. People run out from their State and work as daily labour in other State and people exploit them very easily, because these people are very simple in nature and they do not know how to survive in this complicated outside world.

It also leads to health problems. Right to healthy environment is or constitutional right.. but vety sadly I can say that due to poison gas emissions and the metals that mix with water it leads to dangerous diseases, sometimes causes serious impact on children and women.

It also raises temperature in air. Since last 10 years Odisha is facing this problem. One of the area called ‘titlagarh’ in Bolangir district where the temperature rises to 50 degree centigrade in hot summer.

“Human rights watchdog Amnesty International alleged that the government and Vedanta had failed to protect Orissa’s indigenous communities from health hazards of mining, but the mining major hit back saying the claims were based on an “outdated document”. It also alleged that the 8,000 strong community, mainly ‘adivasis’ (tribals) in Orissa’s Lanjigarh suffered violations of human rights to water and health, due to pollution by Vedanta’s aluminium refinery.”

“Vedanta Aluminium Ltd’s alumina refinery has led to water and air pollution, seriously undermining the quality of life and threatening the health of nearby communities, some of whom live only a few hundred yards from the refinery’s boundary walls. The Amnesty report said that it also alleged that the Centre failed to obtain “free, prior and informed consent” of the Dongria Kondh people living in forests of Niyamgiri Hills before approving this project.The Centre, on its part, said it is yet to receive the Amnesty’s report and as such, a new Act (the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act) is on the anvil to take care of issues, including tribal rights and welfare.Reacting to the report, Vedanta said: “The majority of the report is based on an outdated document which was subjected to intense scrutiny by the Supreme Court.The firm claimed that it offered for joint verification of allegations in eight villages, and dialogue on every aspect of the report but it was rejected.”

CHAPTER-6

CASE ANALYSIS AND NATIONAL AND SECTOR SPECIFIC POLICY

Kalinga Nagar situation

The situation is real shape of a beast. Kalinga nagar in Jajpur district, the activists from the Visthapan Virodhi Jana Manch clashed with the supporters of the upcoming Tata Steel Project. And the activists were attacked with traditional weapons and police have deployed platoons at the site to prevent any further incidents. The SP and DM acted there as pro-Tata people, they turned priest for Tat’s ‘bhumi puja’ and officially resumes the construction work that had stopped after 2nd January,2006 massacre. The work has been done on the area where people were displaced and not accepted the rehabilitation and resettlement package. A crowd of women stood and protested but the media came up with the news very shamelessly that those tribal women welcomed and did ‘bhumi puja’ for Tata. “Since the past three months a reign of terror has been unleashed in Kalinga Nagar. The people there have been peacefully agitating against the construction of an approach road. Instead of negotiating with the people, the state government has reacted with brutal force. There has been a virtual blockade in Kalinga Nagar for the past few months. 29 platoons of armed police, 2 platoons of NSG, 70 police officers and 7 magistrates were deployed in Kalinga Nagar a week before the police brutally fired on peacefully agitating men, women and children. On 28thMarch 2010 the District Collector of Jajpur told the people of Kalinga Nagar that the district administration is willing for a negotiated settlement of the issues raised by them. However, shockingly on 30th morning the police forces entered the village of Baligotha and started to fire indiscriminately on unarmed men, women and children. More than 30 villagers were injured; 7 of them are still battling for life. This explains how brutal force is used in Odisha to evict people from their habitat and handover mineral rich areas including fertile agricultural land to national and international big businesses. For the past few years hundreds of people have been arrested in Kalinga Nagar, Jagatsinghpur and Narayan Patna on false criminal charges. This anti-people white terror is perpetrated on the peasants, workers, Adivasis and Dalits of Odisha to handover thousands of acres of fertile land, water and forests to the profit-hungry corporations displacing millions from their homes and habitat.”

Vedanta and illegal expansion

“Niyamgiri Hill is located in the Lanjigarh block of Kalahandi district. It is a scheduled V area, and is inhabited by Dongaria Kondhs, a primitive tribal group. Niyamgiri hills belong to the Eastern Ghats, and in-situ reserves of metallurgical grade bauxite have been reported from this area. More than 75% of the Niyamgiri hills’ landmass is covered with dense forests and it is one of the biodiversity hotspots of Eastern Ghats. The northernmost hill of this hill country is proposed to be mined by Vedanta Alumina Ltd. who is also setting up an alumina refinery at the bottom of the hill by displacing local Kondh tribals.” The proposed mining and refinery has led to local and tribal people resistance as well as opposition by environmentalists. A case against the Vedanta Alumina Ltd. was filed in the Supreme Court, where the petitioners have indicated that massive irregularities have taken place in the proposed project, especially on the environmental aspects along with human rights violations. “The Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court strongly recommended that the Niyamgiri shouldn’t be allowed to be mined on environmental and biodiversity grounds. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court overruled the recommendations of its own Central Empowered Committee and decided to allow Vedanta to carry out mining on Niyamgiri. At present, Vedanta is awaiting the final clearance for mining the Niyamgiri from Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Meanwhile on ground the local tribals, including the Dongaria Kondhs have vowed to oppose the mining of Niyamgiri at all costs. The working process continues till March 2010, but Vedanta could not start mining on Niyamgiri due to strong oppositions by tribal peoples. Recently, a committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India has submitted detailed reports documenting violation of environmental and forest laws by Vedanta which says that “Vedanta has violated Forest Rights Act, without taking consideration of the tribal rights and environmental aspects in to account and started work on the p