Villagers Appeal To Cancel Public Hearing of Vedanta’s Bauxite Mining in Sijimali And Kutramali, Odisha


  • October 12, 2023
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Groundxero Report | 12th October, 2023

 

On 11 October, 2023,  about 80 men and women from Sijimali and Kutramali areas of Kashipur block in Odisha managed to escape security forces surrounding their villages by climbing mountains through forest routes, caught bus and train and reached Bhubaneswar, and narrated how the Rayagada police and district administration has been committing atrocities on the people of the proposed bauxite mine areas to help mining conglomerate Vedanta and its contractor in the upcoming public hearing of the project scheduled on October 16, 2023. 

 

The Adivasi and Dalit villagers claimed that people from their villages are being tortured, harassed and kept under house arrest by the police for the last two months to facilitate the forceful capture of Sijimali and Kutramali     bauxite reserves in blatant violation of PESA Act 1996, Forest Rights Act 2006, Land Acquisition Act 2013 and other related laws of India. They alleged that the local police is falsely implicating innocent Adivasi and Dalit villagers with serious charges including the Arms Act 1959, Attempt to murder under Sec 307 IPC, Rioting, etc. They accused security forces of completely surrounding their villages and not allowing anyone to go out; no outside person including media is being permitted to enter the villages by the local police and BSF.

 

They mentioned that VEDANTA RESOURCES LTD has got that Mining lease of Sijimali & Kutrumali Bauxite Reserve. VEDANTA has reportedly sublet the mining work to Mythri Infra & Mining India, owned by the friends & business partners of Shri N. Bhaskar Rao, Ex Member of Parliament, who belong to the ruling BJD party. Mythri Infra has the unholy nexus with all the powerful politicians of Rayagada. The company has been using the Rayagada police & the district administration to terrorise and suppress the people of mining affected areas to hijack the upcoming Public Hearing scheduled on 16 October, 2023.

 

So far 23 innocent people have been arrested & put in jail for opposing the proposed mining project. False FIRs have been lodged against about 1000 innocent people to forcefully acquire the Bauxite Reserve in Sijimali & Kutrumali. There is an atmosphere of extreme fear & anxiety in the minds of the people.All the male members of different villages in our area have fled their home & hiding in forests, nearby districts & other states to escape police brutality. The political leaders of BJD, INC & BJP have been shamelessly backing the mining company and the contractor, who are committing all these atrocities to somehow manipulate the Public Hearing with the help of police & local hired goons.

 

The villagers claimed that Sijimali & Kutrumali are their Goddess as per their local tradition and religion. So they worship these mountains as per their local tradition & religious rituals. They stated that their lives, livelihood & religion will be completely destroyed if the mining project by Vedanta starts there. Therefore, they have appealed to the Governor of Odisha, the CM and the Member Secretary SPCB to cancel the Public Hearing meant for the mining project in Sijimali & Kutrumali scheduled on 16 October, 2023.

 

The Press release is published below.

 

PRESS RELEASE

BHUBANESWAR,  Dt: ll-1O-2023

 

Today on date 11/10/2023 about eighty men & women from Sijimali & Kutrumali area of Kashipur Block, district Rayagada came to Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha to submit their memorandum to the Honb’le Governor of Odisha, the Honb’Ie Chief Minister of Odisha, The Chief Secretary of the Odisha & the State Human Rights Commission with an appeal to cancel the Public Hearing for starting Bauxite mining in Sijimali & Kutrumali scheduled on dt 16/10/2022 immediately the Proposed Mining Bauxite project in their areas. They claimed that all the people from their locality are being tortured, harassed & kept under house arrest by the local Rayagada police for last two months. They say that all MIS Mythri Infra & Mining India Pvt Ltd & M/ S VEDANTA RESOURCES LTD. have been misusing the Rayagada police & district administration to forcefully acquire the Sijimali & Kutrumali Bauxite Reserve in blatant violation of PESA ACT 1996, FOREST RIGHTS ACT 2006, LAND ACQUISITION ACT 2013 & other related laws of India. They alleged that Shri Vivekananda Sharma, IPS,SP , Rayagada has been implicating the innocent Tribals & Dalits with several serious charges including the Arms Act 1959, Attempt to murder IPC 307, Rioting. They claim that the Rayagada police authorities & district administration has been committing atrocities on the innocent people of the proposed mines areas to help the Mining Contractor in the upcoming Public Hearing scheduled on dt 16.10.2023.  They said that the Rayagada police & the BSF personals have completely surrounded their villages & not allowing anyone to go out of their villages. No media or outside persons are allowed by police & BSF in the areas. They stated that they managed to come out of their villages by climbing the mountain through forest route to catch bus & train to come to Bhubaneswar to escape the police brutality. They alleged that local police authorities, district administration & local media have been bought over by the M/ S Mythri Infra & Mining India Pvt Ltd. with huge money. They narrated that no govt officials or media persons are able to speak the truth due to the fear of false FIRs case & police brutality. They said that nobody is there to listen to their on-going suffering. They fervently appealed to the Honb’le Governor of Odisha, Honb’le CM of Odisha, Honb’le Human Rights Commission of Odisha, Honb’le GDP, esteemed media & the fellow citizens to save them from the continuous police atrocities on the people of Sijimali & Kutrumali areas of Kashipur Block in the Rayagada district since last two months. They mentioned that M/S VEDANTA RESOURCES LTD has got that Mining lease of Sijimali & Kutrumali Bauxite Reserve. M/ S VEDANTA has reportedly sublet the mining work to M/S Mythri Infra & Mining India Pvt. M/ S Mythri Infra is owned by the friends & business partners of Shri N. Bhaskar Rao, Ex Member of Parliament, who belong to the ruling BJD party. The M/ S Mythri Infra has the unholy nexus with all the powerful politicians of Rayagada. Mythri Infra has been using the Rayagada police & the district administration to suppress the voice of the people of mining affected areas of Rayagada & Koraput since last 15 years. Mythri Infra has been committing atrocities on the people of Sijimali & Kutrumali svith the help Rayagada police to hijack the upcoming Public Hearing scheduled on dt 16/10/2023.

 

So far 23 innocent people have been arrested & put in jail for opposing the proposed mining project in Sijimali & Kutrumali. False FIRs have been lodged against about 1000 innocent people to forcefully acquire the Bauxite Reserve in Sijimali & Kutrumali. All these innocent persons have been falsely charged with more than eight extremely serious charges like attempt to murder, ARMS ACT 1959, Rioting etc. About 170 persons have been implicated with 15 serious charges including the Arms Act 1959, Attempt to murder & Rioting. All the male members of different villages in our area have fled their home & hiding in forests, nearby district & other states to escape police brutality. All the villages have been dominated by police & paramilitary personnel (BSF) since last two months. The political leaders of BJD, INC & BJP have been shamelessly supporting the M/ S Mythn Infra. MI S Mythri Infra & Mining India Ltd has been committing all these atrocities to somehow manipulate the Public Hearing scheduled on dt 16/10/2023 with the help of police & local hired goons. There is a atmosphere of extreme fear & anxiety in the minds of the people. They claimed that Sijimali & Kutrumali are their Goddess as per their local tradition & religion. So they worship these mountains as per their local tradition & religious rituals. They stated that their lives, livelihood & religion will be completely destroyed if the mining project starts there. Therefore, they appeal to the Honb’le Governor of Odisha, the Honb’le CM & the Honb’le Member Secretary SPCB to cancel the Public Hearing meant for mining project in Sijimali & Kutrumali scheduled on dt 16/10/23. The delegation consisted of Smt. Sunamati Majhi, Smt. Karumudei Majhi, Smt. Ulangdei Majhi, Shri Mansingh Majhi, Shri Hinda Majhi, Shri Santosh Majhi, Shri Ghenu Naik, Shri Jayadev NaiL Shri Sumanta Majhi, Shri Basudev Jhodia among others.

 

 

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