Orissa tribals block UK’s Vedanta Group’s mining plans

July 24th, 2009 - 5:19 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 24 (ANI): Repeated protests by tribal people in Orissa, India, have blocked the mining plans of one of Britain’s biggest companies, leading to a costly delay.

Anil Agarwal, billionaire chairman (and majority owner) of Vedanta Resources, announced in January that its massive bauxite mine in the Niyamgiri Hills would start ‘in a month or two’, but men and women of the Dongria Kondh tribe, furious at the planned destruction of their mountain top, have blocked roads and refused to allow the company’s diggers to pass.

Besides repeated protests by hundreds of Dongria Kondh and other Kondh tribespeople, Survival, Amnesty International, Action Aid, War on Want and numerous Indian activists have all condemned Vedanta’s planned mine. Survival has submitted an urgent appeal to the UN, and prompted an investigation by the British government.

Next week, for the first time, a Dongria Kondh representative will come to London to demand that Vedanta Resources leaves his homeland. He will join demonstrators outside Vedanta’s AGM in London on Monday.

The Dongria Kondh’s demonstrations are the latest in a wave of tribal protests against large-scale industrial projects which are destroying their homelands.

In Peru, tribal people have blockaded rivers with canoes to stop oil companies entering their territories. In Malaysia, Penan nomads are defying arrest to block logging roads and halt the destruction of their rainforest for oil palm plantations.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, “Tribal people find themselves in the frontline of a global battle against the wholesale destruction of the planet. While world leaders talk about stopping climate change, tribal people around the world are literally sitting in front of bulldozers - not just for them, but for all our sakes.” (ANI)

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