Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Muniguda, Aug 4:
Scores of Dongria Kondh tribals took out a massive rally here on Monday against Vedanta’s Alumina Limited’s refinery plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district of Odisha accusing it of polluting the environment and violating their human rights among other things.
The tribals from Kalahandi and Rayagada districts alleged that after setting up of the refinery, the environment had been degraded and the lives of the tribals have become miserable. In the guise of development, Vedanta has set up the Lanjigarh plant in Kalahandi, which has changed the lifestyle of the Dongria kondhs.
Over two thousand tribals under the banner of Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti (Rayagada-Kalahandi) took to the streets in Muniguda on Monday demanding de-commissioning of Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery project.
The Samiti members presented a memorandum addressed to the Governor SC Jamir to the local Block Development Officer (BDO) Rajeev Kumar Behera demanding closure of the plant.
The Niyamgiri hills, closely associated with the livelihood, religion and culture of the Dongrias, have been safeguarded due to the intervention of Supreme Court. Despite this, the company has cast evil eyes on it. With the running of the refinery, it is causing noise, dust, ash, toxic gas, water, air pollution. Besides, it is casuing harm to birds, agriculture, vegetation and the local populace, the memorandum pointed out.
To ensure healthy tradition, environment and self-sufficiency so as to lead a dignified life, the Vedanta refinery needs to be locked up. The remaining area including the Bhudan land should be distributed among the landless poor tribals of the region, they demanded through the memorandum.
They are all fed up and terrified by the atrocities of the anti-social officials, corrupt administrative officers, greedy middlemen, politicians and the inhuman security personnel, the memorandum added.
Over 2000 tribals from the Niyamgiri area under Kalahandi and Rayagada districts having placards and banners in their hands took out a rally shouting slogans from Munikhol to the Block office where they presented the memorandum to the BDO.
The members of Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti –Dadhi Pushuka, Bari Pidikaka, Lado Sikaka, Laxman Ratu Kadraka, Raji Katinga, Tambu Majhi, Lingaraj Azad, Paika Sikaka, Shrabu Sikaka among others led the rally.