Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Feb 17:
In a move to pacify the tribals, up in arms against the BJD government for allowing setting up of industries and mining in their areas, ahead of elections, the Odisha government today announced sanction of Rs 12 crore in the next three years for protection, conservation and development of sacred groves in tribal dominated areas.
“Sacred groves are an integral part of tribal culture. The tribals perform their religious rites in those groves with much devotion and dedication. To encourage and assist in their noble endeavour, the State Government has decided to take up the protection, conservation and development of these sites in the next three years with an investment of about Rs.12 crores, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told media persons here.
He said the project will start immediately and will be closely monitored by the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Collectors.
Tribal people are very attached to these sites and take up their protection, development and conservation through their own traditional methods.
It is to be noted that the tribals have already rejected the proposal of Vedanta Group to mine on Niyamgiri hills, which they consider sacred, to source bauxite for its ailing refinery plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district. They are also opposing the move of the government to hand over the iron ore rich Khandadhar hills to the Posco project.
The government feels that these issues will go against it in the coming elections that will decrease vote tally of its prospective candidates.