India: Vedanta Orissa bauxite mine hearing resumes today

The official hearing on a challenge to the Indian government’s decision to grant environmental clearance to a Vedanta subsidiary’s bauxite mine in Niyamgiri, Orissa, is resuming at the National Environment Appellate Authority in New Delhi today.

The hearing concerns the petition filed by 23 Dongria Kondh endangered indigenous (adivasi) community members and four Orissa-based social activists. The petition is against the government’s 29 April 2009 decision to grant environmental clearance to the Orissa Mining Corporation and Vedanta Resources’ subsidiary, Sterlite Industries India Limited.

A 2010 Amnesty International report detailed human rights violations due to the proposed mine project at Niyamgiri, and Vedanta Aluminium’s alumina refinery at nearby Lanjigarh. The report, Don’t Mine us out of Existence: Refinery and Bauxite Mine Devastate lives in India (pdf), states that the authorities provided scant or misleading information on the two projects and failed to adequately consult with or obtain the consent of the adivasi communities concerned.

Amnesty International's South Asia team researcher Ramesh Gopalakrishnan and Bikramjeet Batra will be in Delhi to attend the hearing.

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