Blockade stops UK firm Vedanta from entry to tribal lands in Orissa

January 7th, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Kondh (Orissa, India), Jan.7 (ANI): A blockade mounted by more than 50 protestors stopped British mining company Vedanta entering the land of the Dongria Kondh and other Kondh tribes under cover of darkness last night.
According to a press release issued by Survival International, the FTSE 100 company plans to mine bauxite on the Dongria Kondhs sacred mountain in the state of Orissa, laying waste to the forests they depend on for their survival.
Tuesday nights action follows high level meetings at the weekend between Vedantas billionaire chairman Anil Agarwal and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who backs the mine.
After the meeting, Agarwal told journalists that mining would start within a month or two.
Indias Supreme Court has approved Vedantas plans, but the mine is yet to receive the environmental clearance required for it to go ahead.
The stand-off between local villagers and Vedantas bulldozers at the blockade site continues.
Protestor Ajun Chandi, who has received a series of threatening phone calls from Vedanta, says, You must let the whole world know what Vedanta is doing.
Survivals director Stephen Corry said today, “Vedanta won”t be able to hide its work by invading the Kondhs land at night. It doesn”t even have official approval. Whether or not it gets it, the Dongria arent likely to agree to their homeland and most sacred site being destroyed. Vedanta is trying to intimidate the tribespeople. This is an appalling way for a major British company to behave, it isn”t going to work and Vedanta must now expect international opposition to grow.” (ANI)

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