Friday, May 9, 2008

Tribals pin hope on Rahul

The Statesman, 9th May, 2008

Even as Vedanta group was busy at Lanjigarh extending its CSR activities for the local people , a few tribals of Lanjigarh were at the state capital here led by former union minister Mr Bhakta Charan Das. They staged a protest rally and dharna here opposing mining of Niyamgiri hills for the alumina project.Significantly, the tribals have pinned their hope on Mr Rahul Gandhi and have sought an appointment with the AICC leader when he visits Orissa.He had met us at Lanjigarh, we now want him to support our cause and protect Niyamgiri hills said the tribals.It may be noted here that Mr Rahul Gandhi had visited a tribal village at Lanjigarh and later aired his views against mining of the hill. Mr Das who has formed an outfit called Green Kalahandi said that Niyamgiri is worshipped by the tribals, it is like any other religious place of worship as far the tribals are concerned and it should not be mined. Besides, the ecology and water streams will be destroyed.The former Union minister said: "Rahul Gandhi is expected to visit Orissa on 13 May and the tribals of Lanjigarh have sought an appointment with him.Mr Das said: "the project can come up with ore from other sources". He however demanded construction of a barrage on the Tel river, displaced families should be made shareholders of the company, a 20 foot high wall from Dahikhal to Trilochanpur near the hill for protection of wildlife and adequate compensation.

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