India Rejects Mining Project to Protect Indigenous Tribal Land
The Indian government has rejected a controversial mining project that it believes would have threatened the survival of an indigenous tribal group.
The government's action is being seen as a new effort to protect the rights of indigenous tribes and ensure sustainable growth.
The Indian government rejected British-based Vedanta Resources' plan to mine bauxite in the eastern Orissa state after a government report concluded the project would deprive tribal people their rights and source of livelihood.
The report also said the proposed open cast mine would drastically affect the ecosystems vital to the Kutia and Dongria Kondh indigenous tribes.
These tribes regard the Niyamgiri Hill range – the site of the proposed mining project – as sacred. They also rely on the land for their livelihood.
Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh declared as "unacceptable" any violation of the protection extended to the habitat of these tribes.
A high profile leader of the Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, told the tribes they had won the battle for their rights.
He said they had been successful in making their voice heard far away, and had fought for their rights peacefully. He said they had managed to save their land.