Thursday, November 26, 2015

Central nod to IT park in Jeypore Rayagada, Bhawanipatna left out

Note: Why too much administrative negligence in Kalahandi? Because of not identifying the land, STPI in Bhawanipatna got delayed and postponed. I mentioned about STPI in my last year meeting in January to our honorable MLA from Bhawanipatna and Junagarh, so that they can take the issue with state Govt. and expedite it. It is time leaders and people of Kalahandi to take note of it.

Orissapost, Nov 25, 2015
Jeypore, Nov 25: A wave of joy Tuesday gripped this town in Koraput district after news of the Centre giving nod for establishment of an IT park here spread in the area.
A patch of three acres of land at Phulabada on the outskirts of the town has already been demarcated for the setting up of the park, a report said.
Earlier, the state government had sent a proposal to the Centre to open Software Technology Park of India (STPI) hub at Jeypore. Besides, Sambalpur, Bhawanipatna, Rayagada, Jajpur and Angul also featured in the proposal sent by the state government. The same was approved by the Centre.
Later, the state government identified land in Angul, Sambalpur, Jajpur and Jeypore towns and sent a report to the Centre for its final approval. Based on the report, the latter approved centres in  Angul, Sambalpur and Jajpur also. The proposal for the centres in Rayagada and Bhawanipatna  got delayed as the proposed land for the purpose couldn’t be identified, a report said.
At present three STPI centres are operating in Bhubaneswar, Rourkela and Berhampur while construction of the fourth one at Balasore is under way. According to sources, 96 IT companies operate from Bhubaneswar centre alone while six and three companies have got themselves registered in Rourkela and Berhampur centres respectively. 
It may be noted that there are 53 STPI centres in the country under which more than 8,000 units operate and export services besides manufacturing electronic hardware.
Putting emphasis on information technology, the Centre had started setting up STPIs in 1991. The department has set up separate jurisdictions for some STPIs for smooth management of the centres. The STPIs of Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand operate under Bhubaneswar jurisdiction.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Braja Mohan High School Centenary Celebration Committee: Invitation to All Kalahandia

Thursday, November 19, 2015

HC relief for medicos of default medical college

PTI, Nov 18, 2015
Cuttack, Nov 18 (PTI) In a major relief to 124 students of Sardar Rajas Medical College of Kalahandi, the Orissa High Court today directed the state government to adjust the medicos in other government and private medical colleges to enable them to complete their unfinished course.

Notwithstanding Odisha government s reluctance, the High Court agreed with the suggestions made by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and directed the government to adjust the medicos under government quota to Burla and Berhampur government medical colleges and those admitted under management quota to be transferred to three private colleges at Bhubaneswar.

A division bench of Justice Indrajit Mahanti and Justice D P Choudhury also asked the state government to complete the transfer processes within two weeks and file an affidavit two weeks thereafter regarding compliance of the High Court order.

The executive council of MCI would ratify the transfer of the students in its meeting scheduled on November 27.

The state government had earlier expressed its reservation over MCI's suggestion saying that the shift of students of the default medical college to a government medical college at this stage would give unfair advantage to these students and the same would run counter to the "principles of equality" as many students ranked above them in AIPMT were deprived of this advantage.

Soon after pronouncement of the order, medicos present in the court premises expressed happiness.

"We were in a state of confusion for over three months after MCI disallowed the medical college to run the MBBS course from this academic year for lack of infrastructure and faculty. But thanks to the High Court, we are now relieved," said a medico, who had petitioned the HC.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jaring Medical College Issue: HC asks Odisha Govt to explain stand on MCI proposal

Prameya, Nov 16, 2015
Also asks the Health Secretary to depose before bench in person
MCI wants 124 affected medicos to be relocated in state-run medical colleges
State Govt wants to relocate them in three private medical colleges
Bhubaneswar: Hearing the disputed case of Kalahandi district Jaring-based Sardar Rajas Medical College on Monday, Orissa High Court has ordered the Odisha Government to explain in writing why it is opposed to the proposal of Medical Council of India (MCI) on the vexed issue of relocating the 124 aggrieved medicos in the state-run medical colleges and has also directed the State Health Secretary to depose before the bench in person on Tuesday.
MCI wants that the 124 medicos pursuing medical courses in Jaring-based Sardar Rajas Medical College should be relocated in the three state-run medical colleges-Cuttack SCB, Berhampur MKCG and Burla VSS.
On the contrary, State Government wants to relocate them in the three private medical colleges- SUM, KIIT, Hi-Tech-situated in the state capital city here.
Talking to PrameyaNews7 over phone on Monday, defence lawyer Pitamber Acharya said that the Orissa High Court basing on the MCI proposal has sought State Government’s explanation.
Acharya argued on behalf of the medicos that Burla-based VSS Medical College has the requisite facility to relocate those students. They can also be relocated in the rest two state-run medical colleges.
He also argued that the SUM and KIIT are deemed universities.
As per reports, the controversial Jaring-based Sardar Rajas Medical College in Kalahandi district in western Odisha has been opened on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode by the Odisha Government and it is being run by a private trust.
The State Government has allocated Rs 10,000 crore and 27 acres of land to it.
The MCI has withdrawn its recognition citing infrastructural problems and inadequate and ineligible faculty following which the fate of 124 medicos admitted there hangs in balance for the last few months.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

HC asks Centre to settle medicos' issue soon

Press Trust of India, Nov 4, 2015
Cuttack, Nov 4 (PTI) The Orissa High Court has ordered the Union government to amicably settle the issue of medicos of Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital by discussing it with the state government and Medical Council of India by November 9 and file an affidavit in this regard 

Since the Odisha government has decided to shut down the Kalahandi-based teaching hospital, confusion prevails over the future of the present 124 medicos of the college.

The High Court had earlier ordered the state government to split the medicos among three private medical colleges in the state for completion of their courses.

On October 8, the state government had submitted a proposal to the MCI to relocate the students in three private medical colleges at Bhubaneswar.

The MCI, however, wanted to relocate those admitted in management quota to private colleges and others admitted under government quota to government colleges and accordingly submitted an affidavit in Orissa High Court stating that the Centre also endorses the proposal.

A division bench of justices Indrajit Mahanti and Dr D P Choudhury passed the order yesterday after the MCI filed its affidavit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

MCI team inspects Sardar Rajas Medical College

Pragatibadi, Nov 3, 2015
Kalahandi: A four-member team of the Medical Council of India (MCI) on Monday inspected the Sardar Rajas Medical College in Kalahandi district and took stock of its infrastructure, faculty members and financial status.
Notably, the MCI had withdrawn its recognition and affiliation to the college on ground of poor infrastructure and inadequate faculty strength earlier this year. Recently, the Odisha High Court had directed the State government to accommodate 124 students of the college in other medical colleges of the State.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Crop Damage Widespread in Kalahandi, 234 Panchayats Affected

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Nov 2, 2015
BHAWANIPATNA:Erratic rainfall has affected the crops, particularly in non-irrigated areas of Kalahandi during the current kharif season. Of the total 272 gram panchayats, farmers in 234 gram panchayats have been affected and most of the villages come under non-irrigated pockets of the district.
 According to an eye estimate report prepared by the Agriculture Department, 49,304 hectares (ha) of paddy crops and 21,743 ha of non-paddy crops have been damaged due to erratic monsoon and moisture-stress condition, said Deputy Director of Agriculture, Laxman Palatasingh.
This season, the Agriculture Department had covered 3,83,701 ha with different crops for the kharif season, including paddy in 1,80,403 ha and non-paddy crops in 1,93,564 ha.
 Of the two sub-divisions in the district - Dharamgarh and Bhawanipatna - the maximum extent of damage has been noticed in Bhawanipatna. The only solace for Dharamgarh sub-division is the Indravati irrigation project that provides water to five blocks.
 According to the report, of 1,80,403 ha covered under paddy, crops have been damaged in 49,304 ha and out of this, 13,832 ha have suffered more than 66 per cent  damage. In another 35,472 ha, the damage is between 33 and 66 per cent.
Although in Indravati-irrigated pockets there is no water scarcity, the crops have been damaged by pests in Jaipatna, Kalampur, Junagarh and Dharamgarh blocks. Field staff of the department are providing technical advice to farmers.
As far as non-paddy crops are concerned, cotton, pulses and oil seeds were grown in 1,93,564 ha of which, 21,743 ha have been damaged due to moisture-stress condition.
Cotton was grown in 46,152 ha and a good yield was expected. However, the crop grown in sandy soil areas, particularly in Narla, Lanjigarh, Bhawanipatna, Kesinga and Golamunda blocks are facing moisture-stress condition. Under this situation, the crop yield will be much lesser than expected, said farmers.
The Agriculture Department is yet to prepare a contingency programme for Kalahandi district in the wake of the crop loss. Recently, 1,700 mini kits of mustard, sun flower and groundnut seeds were supplied to the Agriculture Directorate. As this was not sufficient to address the crisis, the district administration has urged the Agriculture Department to come up with a contingency plan for farmers.

State increases funds for KBK to Rs 250cr

Times of India, Nov 1, 2015
Bhubaneswar: The state government on Saturday announced to increase the fund for Biju Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi (KBK) scheme from Rs 120 crore to Rs 250 crore.

The scheme is being implemented in eight districts. These are Koraput, Nabarangapur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Balangir, Sonepur, Kalahandi and Nuapada.

"Since the NDA government has stopped fund flow under the KBK scheme from the 2015-16, the state government has decided to continue the scheme with additional budgetary provision to continue the development works in the region," said an officer after a review meeting headed by chief minister Naveen Patnaik here.

According to an official statement issued by the chief minister's office, the state government would bear the additional Rs 130 crore from its own sources.

Former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao launched a long-term action plan for the KBK on August 18, 1995, with an aim to alleviate hunger and ushering in development in the region.

Though the Centre granted Rs 250 crore annually for the KBK scheme under the Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP), the UPA government had reduced the amount to Rs 130 crore in 2006.

As Rs 130 crore was not adequate to carry out development projects, the state government launched the Biju KBK scheme in 2006. Since then, the state government has been bearing additional Rs 120 crore from its own sources.

The additional fund will be spent for augmentation of road infrastructure, restoration of lift irrigation points and digging up of deep borewells to boost irrigation facilities and setting up of more schools and hostels.

The chief minister has directed different departments to chalk out action plan for effective expenditure of the additional amount to be borne by the state government. "Budgetary provision for the additional Rs 130 crore would be made in the supplementary budget likely to be tabled in the assembly in December," the officer said.

In the current fiscal, the Centre has delinked its support from eight-centrally sponsored schemes, including Backward Region Grant Fund and Integrated Action Plan meant for backward area development.

    Saturday, October 31, 2015

    Sardar Rajas medicos can be sent to govt colleges

    Times of India, Oct 31, 2015
    Bhubaneswar: The Medical Council of India (MCI) wants the state government to split students of Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital, Jaring in Kalahandi district, in both government and private colleges.

    According to minutes of a meeting convened by the Union ministry of health and family welfare in New Delhi on October 12, the MCI wanted the state government to relocate those admitted in management quota to private colleges and others admitted under government quota to government colleges. From among the 124 students of two batches, only 15 were admitted in management quota.

    The MCI also sought an undertaking from the state government that the Jaring college would be shut down. On October 8, the state government had submitted a proposal to the MCI to relocate the students in three private medical colleges in Bhubaneswar. The health ministry has sought a revised proposal from the state. "We will submit it soon," said a senior government officer.

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday declined to stay its order and that of the Orissa high court on relocation of the medicos.

    Hearing an appeal by the Tamil Nadu-based Selvam Educational and Charitable trust, which runs the Jaring college, and another petition by the MCI, an SC bench of Justice Anil R Dave and Justice A K Goel stuck to the SC's interim order on September 30 and said the HC was at liberty to decide all the issues, the students' advocate Pratap Venugopal said.

    On October 6, the Selvam trust had filed a petition in the apex court seeking interim relief from the SC's September 30 order and the HC's October 1 direction on the grounds that such a move would completely shut down the college resulting in loss of crores to the trust. The trust had pleaded before the apex court to examine if the HC overlooked rules as there was no provision to transfer students of one medical college to another under the Indian Medical Council Act 1958.

    On October 1, the HC had asked the Centre, the state and MCI to shift the 124 students of two batches (2013-14 and 2014-15) to other colleges in two weeks. On September 30, the SC had observed that the students admitted in the college in 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years can be relocated to other recognized medical colleges and that the HC can proceed in that direction.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    Odisha to make fresh bid for Niyamgiri mining

    Business Standard, Oct 28, 2015
    More than two years after local tribals nixed plan to mine bauxite on top of hills, straddling and Rayagada districts, the government is gearing up to conduct fresh palli sabhas and woo tribals in favour of the project.
    The state government is making a renewed bid to mine atop the ecologically fragile hills since its PSU OdishaCorporation (OMC) is still the leaseholder even after the tribals unanimously trumped the mining plan at gram sabhas held in July-August 2013.
    "The state government is keen to hold gram sabhas again for Niyamgiri bauxite mining. We will seek legal opinion on whether we should seek permission of the Supreme Court or the Union ministry of environment & forest to conduct the gram sabhas," said steel & mines minister Prafulla Mallick.
    Experts feel the road is going to be tough for the state government to restart the gram sabhas given the unfavourable ambience at the ground level.
    "The gram sabhas for Niyamgiri bauxite mining were conducted as per the directions of the Supreme Court. Now, the state government has to seek permission from the apex court to start the process again. I believe this is going to be tough", said mines expert and former director of mines with Odiha government, B K Mohanty.
    Niyamgiri hills has 72 million tonne of bauxite reserves. Bauxite mined from this hill top was supposed to feed Vedanta's alumina refinery installed at the foothills.

    OMC had formed South West Bauxite Mining Company (Pvt) Ltd, a joint venture with 26% equity of Sterlite Industries India Limited (SIIL) in 2009 for mining bauxite over Niyamgiri.
    But, plans to mine bauxite came unstuck as tribals of 12 hill slope villages in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts gave a thumbs down to the project, claiming community and worship rights over the entire Niyamgiri hill range.

    Monday, October 26, 2015

    Dharna to press for state takeover of Sardar Rajas

    Times of India, Oct 26, 2015
    ,TNN | Oct 26, 2015, 08.41 AM IST
    BHAWANIPATNA: Demanding takeover of the Sardar Rajas Medical College by the state government, the joint action committee has decided to sit on a dharna here at Bhawanipatna from October 28.

    The president of the JAC, Akhyaya Kumar Nanda, allegedly told mediapersons here on Sunday that the cabinet decision to cancel the MoU with Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust and assurance to sign the new MoU with the PPP mode was taken prior to the BJD's padayatra so that the Kalahandi people do not show their resentment.

    He alleged that the state government has not yet clarified its decision on how it will run the college in Kalahandi's Jaring area here.

    Nanda alleged that by not using the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) a fund of Rs 1,500 crore, the state government returned it to the Centre, which was allocated in the last five years.

    "Had the state wanted, it could have spent the fund by taking over the medical college itself," Dr Nanda said.

    Earlier, on the demand of state takeover of the college, students of Sardar Rajas Medical College, led by the JAC, supported by the political parties, were on strike from August 1-28 and Kalahandi remained bandh for two days which had caused the normal life out of gear.

    No mountain too high

    Times of India, Oct 26, 2015
    BHUBANESWAR: Two ace mountaineers of the state who have successfully scaled Mount Everest have turned master trainers as they not only motivate youths to take to adventure sports but also train them.

    Kalahandi-based mountaineer Jogabyas Bhoi's gang of students includes four girls and three boys. Jogabyas provides them basic training by taking them to the mountains nearby. "Starting from physical exercise to soft skills and breath control, I am teaching them how to shed fear and stay focused while climbing a mountain. A few of them have shown extraordinary zeal to scale the peaks of local mountains. If they are successful, I will plan to send them for training to the glacier, which is important to be an ace mountaineer," said Bhoi, the first Indian to scale the 17298-ft high Renik mountain in the Himalayas without oxygen in June 2008 after successfully conquering Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in South Africa, without oxygen. He made it to the Everest peak in 2011, again without oxygen.

    He has also climbed a mountain in Europe, Mt Elbruse, located in the western Caucasus mountain range, in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay, Russia, without oxygen.

    Bhoi recently led a team of cyclists, who covered 1,737 km in Bhutan. The bicycle expedition was meant for strengthening the bond between Bhutan and India.

    Another Everest conqueror, Ganesh Jena, is also training interested youths in mountaineering. Ganesh provided basic training to a batch of six students at the Indira Gandhi park here. He subsequently sent them to Manali for further training in glacier and higher peaks. "In Manali, the students will receive training at 15 rocks and 15 different glaciers. The height of local mountains is a maximum of 5,000 ft and we need to train students to scale up to 7000 ft," said Ganesh.

    Jena trained in mountaineering at Manali and successfully climbed peaks like the Mamostong Kangri, Mount Kamet, Mount Saser Kangir, Mount Ladakhi, Mount Satider, Mount Friendship and Mount Stock Kangri. He also participated in various mountaineering expeditions in India and abroad.

    Dhenkanal-born Kalpana Das is the first Odia to scale Mount Everest in 2008. Her success inspired youths to take up mountaineering. A year later, Das scaled Mount Mc Kinley, the highest peak in North America.

    Moving Sardar Rajas medicos faces hurdle

    Times of India, Oct 25, 2015

    Thursday, October 22, 2015

    Hundreds of Animals Sacrificed in 'Chhatar Jatra' Festival

    The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Oct 21, 2015
    BHUBANESWAR: Hundreds of animals were sacrificed in full public view today at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district on the occasion of famous 'Chhatar Jatra' of the presiding goddess Manikeswari, officials said.
    The animals, including goats and hen, were sacrificed on the road in presence of police and district administration officials as the procession of 'Chhatar (umbrella) Jatra' passed from the Kalahandi royal palace till Jenakhal, a distance of 3 kilometre, in the town.
    This was held despite a massive awareness campaign by the police and district administration against sacrifice of the animals.
    "Though animals were sacrificed this time too, the number has come down due to massive awareness campaign. It can be stopped totally, but gradually," Kalahandi Superintendent of Police Brijesh Kumar Rai said.
    Like every year, lakhs of devotees from various places throng Bhawanipatna town to get glimpse of the 'Chhatar Jatra' of the deity.
    Tight security arrangements were made from Jenakhal to Manikeshwari temple.

    Sunday, October 18, 2015

    Kalahandi Deveolpment Forum organized Dialogue on Development seminar

    Orissadiary, Oct 17, 2015
    Report by Odisha Diary bureau, Kalhandi: Kalahandi Deveopment Forum today organized it’s Kalanhandi Chapter of ‘Dialogue on Development’ to discuss with prominent citizens of the region in wake of a crisis facing Kalaahandi due to concerns over the dying down syndrome of development in the district which is pushing the region backward and into a crisis for future.

    It is interesting to note that in the last few decades many sincere attempts and initiatives to bring about industrialization and development in Kalahandi have failed. To name a few, these are sugar mill at Bhawanipatna, Oil complex and chilling plant at Kesinga , spinning mill at Bhawanipatna, Sugar factory at
    Mathura .Similarly the medical college, Doordarshan Kendra , All India Radio and Vedanta are on the verge of closure. It appears that Kalahandi is suffering from a ‘Close down Syndrome’.

    The reasons of such closure are varied and many. Sometime it is the apathetic attitude of the government and sometime it is the local resistance a by a few. Incase of the resistance which comes from a few corners, a large segment of the masses prefers development but choose to remain silent as they are not very vocal about the reality on ground. Their voice which should have been otherwise decisive is lost in the louder breeze of protest.

    The district has huge resource base, be it Bamboo, Quartz, water, sunshine, wind, precious stones and overall a huge mineral base. All we need is entrepreneurs and capital investment. It is irony of the fate that when
    everything is in place the fate of an industry is decided by a few people with support from various other groups which has no role to play in the development of the district so far. An industry was established her with nearly
    10,000 crore investment here providing potential for development but no raw material has been provided to the same till date. Where as raw material of our district is given to other industries which have their plant elsewhere
    or in some other district. Is not it a matter of concern?

    The Kalahandi Development Forum (KDF)herewith propose to play a meaningful role to provide a level platform for development through proper industrialization and converge different stakeholders to express their point of view , share pros and cons for development and contribute their might for the development of the district.

    We also resolve to engage in a dialogue with Vedanta and the local people to bring out as constructive synergy for holistic development of the region by meeting them in the month of November 2015.
    Today’s meeting was presided by Dr. A.K.Nanda and other key participants like Mr. Uma Shankar Kar, Simanchal Mishra, Ashok Patra , Bhavendra Panda,Umesh Sathpathy , Rahasa Bihari Behera , Dr. Ajaya Kumar Mishra , Abdul Kadir and Saroj Kumar Dash and many other prominent citizens of the region who have extended their support to our cause.
    - See more at:

    Infighting: Naveen to meet leaders after Puja

    Times of India, Oct 18, 2015
    BHUBANESWAR: Amid reports of growing infighting in the party, chief minister Naveen Patnaik would meet the leaders after Durga Puja.

    The district observers, who oversaw the padayatra programme, have already submitted reports to the state observers regarding internal wrangling.

    "Whatever happened during the padayatra programme, we have submitted the report to the state observers. The chief minister is likely to visit New Delhi during the puja vacation. After that, he will go through the reports and summon leaders for discussion," said a senior leader of the party.

    During the annual padayatra programme, which was launched on October 2 with an aim to refurbish party's image, the BJD faced embarrassment due to disagreement among own party leaders at a number of places, including Jagatsinghpur, Malkangiri, Balasore, Kalahandi and Sambalpur.

    The leader said the party is growing. So, it is natural to have differences of opinion among leaders. But it sends a wrong message to the people. "The chief minister is not happy with the reports of infighting. Disciplinary action is likely to be taken against some leaders," he added.

    Meanwhile, housing and urban development minister Pushpendra Singh Deo on Saturday met the chief minister at his residence along with other MLAs of the Kalahandi district he represents. "We met the chief minister to discuss some of the problems of our district. It was not related to padayatra," said Singh Deo.

    Since some of the leaders faced public ire during the padayatra programme at Mayurbhanj, Malkangiri and Jagatsinghpur, Naveen is likely to go to the root.

    According to party insiders, the chief minister has also collected reports of infighting from some other sources.

    Friday, October 16, 2015

    OMC writes to environment ministry seeking guidance on Niyamgiri bauxite deposit

    Economic Times, Oct 16, 2016
    BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government hasn't quite relinquished its right to mine the controversial Niyamgiri bauxite deposit, originally identified to supply ore to Vedanta Resources' nearby alumina refinery. State-owned Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), which was granted mining rights for 30 years in 2004, has written to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF), seeking "guidance on how to proceed" with the matter.

    Two years ago, a dozen villages in southern Odisha invoked their right to worship the Niyamgiri hilltop, warding off government plans to open a bauxite mine in their neighbourhood.
    The historic and exceptional referendum ordered by the Supreme Court was cited in January of 2014 by the then Congress-led union government to refuse final forest clearance to the proposed mine, critical to Vedanta's refinery at Lanjigarh - about 4 km from the 72-million-tonne deposit.
    Environmentalists world over celebrated the victory of the Dongariah and Jarnia Kondhs primitive tribal groups from one of least developed corners of the country, in the "David versus Goliath" battle against London-listed Vedanta.
    Vedanta recently said it cannot continue running the loss-making plant for much longer in the face of low global aluminium prices and lack of cheap bauxite.
    While OMC's letter to the MoEF remains unanswered, the state plans to write again to the Centre, placing the ball in its court. "We would like the Government of India to clarify on whether the stage I clearance holds, we start all over again or the verdict (based on the referendum) is binding forever," said Odisha Chief SecretaryGokul Chandra Pati.
    Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javdekar didn't respond to an email seeking comment. Jairam Ramesh, who was the environment minister when early clearances granted to the project were withdrawn, said the decision based on the referendum was final. "It is foolish on Odisha government's part to try again after the SC verdict," Ramesh said.
    Environment lawyer Ritwick Datta was also surprised over the state's move. "But, neither OMC nor the state has filed an appeal against the SC order. Nor have they moved the National Green Tribunal against MoEF's decision to deny them final, stage II clearance," he said. If OMC, despite the SC order, seeks so desperately to revive the Niyamgiri project, it must seek again not just forest clearance but also environmental clearance from scratch, Datta said. The order that allowed the Kondhs a say in 2013 though was "exceptional", guided by the fact that it was both a Fifth Schedule area (an area populated by tribes), attracting Panchayats (Extension of the Scheduled Areas) Act provisions, and inhabited by primitive tribal groups, like the Dongariah Kondhs, he said.
    Curiously, the Niyamgiri case hasn't been called upon as a precedent in any matter, while rights provided under the Forest Rights Act continue to be ignored in many subsequent cases, said Datta.
    The Modi government has been accused by green and tribal activists of diluting such provisions. The MoEF, according to media reports, was stopped in its tracks from waiving off the requirement of gram sabha consents even in tribal dominated areas for certain projects only by the tribal affairs ministry.
    The latter was strongly opposed to any move to change the 2009 guidelines that made it compulsory for all projects requiring diversion of forest to obtain consent of affected village councils.
    In July last year, Niyamgiri's inhabitants reiterated their objections to mining of the deposits, during a public hearing to complete a sixfold expansion of the Lanjigarh refinery. Vedanta, which had embarked on the expansion in 2009, has in its submissions to the state pollution control board cited a deposit 3.7 km from the plant as the source of raw material. Company executives have on record said that they wouldn't make any move on Niyamgiri without local consent.
    Niyamgiri is one among the many bauxite deposits scattered over these parts of the Eastern Ghats that account for 60 per cent of the country's known reserves.
    For investors such as Vedanta and Aditya Birla Group who ventured to set up plants here, the added proximity to coal - aluminium being a power intensive business - promised to change the world order of aluminium producers.
    Now, with aluminium makers battling falling global prices, Vedanta suffers also from the disadvantage where bauxite is concerned.