Bhawanipatna, July 31 :
Congress leaders today congratulated the Dangaria Kandha tribes of Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of Odisha for their united stand against the proposed bauxite mining plan atop Niyamgiri Hills for Vedanta.
The praise on the particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) was showered at the Congress’s farmers rally held here.
Beginning from Union Minister to the local congress leaders all highlighted how the local tribals have dared to openly oppose the mining after rejecting different offers by the company and the State Government.
“I must salute the Dangaria Kandha tribes who have created a history by denying permission to the State Government to mine bauxite from atop Niyamgiri Hills,” Union Minister of State for programme implementation and statistics Srikant Jena said.
Stating that AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi had committed the Dangaria Kandhas to fight for their right at ‘Dilli Durbar’, the Union Minister said the Congress was committed to stand behind the tribal groups. “We are committed to development of tribals of Odisha,” Jena said.
Alleging that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was hand-in-gloves with Vedanta Group, Jena said, “Now after rejection by the tribals, the BJD government is exposed. It is anti-tribal and pro-company,” the Union Minister alleged.
Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das was also all in praise of the tribals who outrightly rejected the proposal of allowing mining at the ecologically fragile Niyamgiri Hills.
He said the people’s opinion must be respected in a democratic government.
Das, also an AICC spokesman, pointed out that the Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has sanctioned housing units for Dangaria Kandha tribals of Kalahandi and Rayagada district besides certain tribesmen of Nuapada district.
“Surprisingly, the state government has not given any proposal to the Centre in this regard,” Das said.
Meanwhile, the Dangaria Kandhas and other inhabitants of the eight hill slope villages of Niyamgiri Hills spread over Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, have rejected the proposed bauxite mining atop Niyamgiri. Of the 12 Gram Sabhas, the residents at eight such meetings held so far, have rejected the proposal. (PTI)