K.Singhpur, Aug 7 :
The 10th Gram Sabha held in Lakhpadar village to decide on mining in the Niyamgiri hills has gone the way of the previous nine. All 97 voters present at the Gram Sabha today unanimously rejected the move to allow mining in the hills considered sacred by them.
Thirty nine of the voters present today were men while 58 were women. Lakhpadar, the biggest of the 12 villages where Gram Sabhas are being held, has 130 voters. It is also home to Lado Sikaka, who has been at the forefront of the movement against the proposal to allow bauxite mining in the hills. He was put behind bars on charges of being a Maoist, but had to be released by the administration under intense pressure from the local tribals and activists.
Rayagada district judge Sarat Chandra Mishra said 11 people, including Sikaka, placed their views on record while the rest expressed support for them. “All of them laid claim to the whole of Niyamgiri hills and said they would not allow mining in the hills,” Mishra said.