The Indian environment ministry has finally rejected Vedanta Resources’ plans to mine Niyamgiri, Orissa for bauxite. After many years of campaigning, this is amazing news for the Kondhas, three of India’s most isolated tribal groups, who live in approximately 200 villages located across the hill range.
The largest of these tribes, the 8,000-strong Dongria Kondh, has dwelt there for centuries. Along with the other two, the Kutia Kondh and Jharania Kondh, its people enjoy an intimate relationship with the Niyamgiri Mountain. For years, though, they have lived under the threat of losing their homeland to the mining company.
For the latest on this news, visit Survival International, 13 January, 2014
For more information and background to the situation in Niyamgiri, please visit my original blog, posted on 19 April 2013. It also explains my personal connection to the story.
Mark Helyar is an author, musician and Co-Director of Theatre for Take Art, Somerset. The revised 2nd edition of Rising from the Dust ~ India’s Hidden Voices is now available in bookstores and online.