Friday, May 20, 2011

Struggles to save a mountain

Here is a documentary on the Niyamgiri hills in Orissa where Vedanta is mining for Bauxite against the wishes of the people.

Sunita Narain has rightly said that the anti-Vedanta movement here, is not spearheaded by urban green lobbies, but by indigenous people who are willing to lay down their lives to preserve their livelihood and the mountain - that they see as their God. Can people with bows and arrows, take on this British company that has blessings of the state government? For the record, central environment ministry has in August 2010 cancelled the environmental clearance given to the $1.7 billion bauxite mining project. But who knows if the ministry will reverse the decision, as it did in the case of POSCO.

p.s. Cannot follow the language in the documentary entirely, because it is not mainstream Oriya. But became sentimental listening to my mother tongue! Barring the completely unnecessary background score in English towards the end, it is a fairly decent introduction to the resistance of the tribals to the mining company.

There was more trouble for Vedanta earlier this month, when there was a red mud-spill at the Lanjigarh Alumina refinery. Some villagers caught the spill pouring into a pond on their mobile phones. Here is a video clip.