Call Authorities Now! Cancel the ‘Public Hearing’ | Withdraw Environmentally Destructive Mining Project in Mali Parbat

21st Sep, 2021: National Alliance of People’s Movements expresses deep concern at the decision of Govt. of Odisha to push bauxite mining in the Schedule – V adivasi-belt of Mali Parbat, Koraput Dist. against the consent and interests of the people, especially adivasi and dalit farmers. Well-aware of the deleterious impacts of mining, the villagers, organized as Mali Parvat Surakhya Samiti have been resisting the Hindalco bauxite mining project proposal since many years. The immediate urgency now is the ‘environmental public hearing’ scheduled for tomorrow. 

We have learnt from ground sources that the company has ‘hired goons from different parts of Koraput’ to prevent people from expressing their dissent to the mining proposal at the public hearing, by putting up check gates, road blockades, etc. Reportedly, the company has also been ‘distributing money to SHGs members’ in many villages and those who are refusing the money, are being abused and intimidated. With little support from the pro-state media and the threat from police and para military, the community members are trying hard to get their message across for wider solidarity.  A video prepared by them in this regard is enclosed.

In the video, one of the key leaders of the movement states that they are “burning the Vimta Labs (consultant) prepared EIA report, as it is replete with lies and false information”. He says, “the report states falsely that there is no forest in the mining lease region, that there are no grass patches, no animals, no flora and fauna of any value and no perennial water sources or streams. Therefore, the Samiti is burning the report to warn the government that if it does not cancel the mining lease, the Samiti will launch a huge resistance and even if they have to give their lives they will not allow mining to take place on Maliparbat”.

Considering the tense situation in the region and imminent threat to people’s rights, we urge concerned citizens, activists, environmental and people’s organizations to call the authorities immediately and ensure that:a. No form of threat, violence, intimidation is resorted to by the Govt, police, para-military, company officials or goons on the villagers.b. The procedure established as per the Environment Protection Act, EIA Notification 2006, PESA Act, 1996 and Forest Rights Act, 2006 is fully followed.c. The demands of the local people to cancel the public hearing, reject the deeply problematic EIA and withdraw the destructive bauxite mining in Maliparbat is heeded.

Governor of Odisha:0674 2535581/ 2535583/ 2535584/ 25355704 / 0674 2535581E-mail:
Chief Minister of Odisha: 0674-2390902 & 0674-2535100E-mail:
Superintendent of Police, Koraput:06852-250901 / 250801 / 764020 | Mobile – 9438916790E-mail:
Collector, Koraput: 06852-764020, 06852250700 and 06852250466E-mail:
DIG of Police, Shri Pandit Rajesh Uttamrao, IPSPh: 06852-251711 (Office) 94389-15996(CUG Mob.)E-mail:
SC and ST Commissioner E-mail:

You can also tweet by tagging the following handles and demand that the Public Hearing be cancelled, bauxite mining proposals in Mali Parbat be withdrawn and Adivasi rights in Koraput be upheld by the Governor & Chief Minister 

• Governor of Odisha – Ganeshi Lal Tweet @GovernorOdisha • Chief Minister- Naveen Pattnaik @Naveen_Odisha• Chief Secretary, Govt of Odisha Tweet @SecyChief• Home department, Govt of Odisha Tweet @homeodisha • SC & ST department and Minister Tweet @stscdev• Tribal Affairs, Govt of India Tweet @TribalAffairsIn• District Collector, Koraput Tweet @dmkoraput • SP Koraput, Tweet @SPkoraput• DIG south western range, Koraput Tweet @digswrkoraput• Odisha State Pollution Control Board Tweet @ospcb123

Brief Background of the Issues:

Activists who have been following this issue closely in Odisha state that about 44 villages around Mali Parbat shall be affected directly and more than 200 villages shall be affected indirectly. Villagers claim that numerous streams flow from hill or enrich the soil moisture. There are 32 perennial streams and four canals that emerge from this hill. Nearly 2,500 families living in 44 villages rely on this water for irrigation of their fields and take up vegetable and other cultivation. Mining will significantly affect the streams and soil moisture and thereby devastating a thriving livelihoods option for the local people. Other likely hazards due to the mining include water and soil pollution. Dumping of oil, lubricants and other waste material of the mining area will have huge adverse bearing on water, land and forest resources of the region. 
Locals allege that neither the company nor the government officials have clearly explained to the villagers the adverse impact of adverse effects of mining.   There is a serious complaint about the manner in which Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process has been approached. They contend that the EIA report for the mining project, prepared by VIMTA Laboratory Pvt. Ltd. of Hyderabad, has totally neglected and disregarded impact of mining on the water sources and subsequent consequence on agriculture and horticulture. 
While adverse impacts on water resources is likely to be catastrophic and permanent in nature, serious land degradation is likely to be huge too. That aspect has also not been assessed and recorded in the EIA. Soil erosion due to mining and deforestation is already among the highest in Odisha. Koraput already has other bauxite mines, including Deomali. That region is reeling under very serious soil erosion and land degradation. Mining of Mali Parbat will surely increase manifold the rate of soil and land degradation. This area comes under the catchment area of Upper Kolab Reservoir. Thus, erosion will lead to huge silt deposition in the Kolab reservoir which has already lost a lot of storage capacity due to massive siltation. Such siltation will greatly undermine efficiency of the reservoir in producing electricity and providing irrigation. Even the life span of the dam will be immensely threatened.

Mali Parbat is home to many rare medicinal plants and species like Hada sakada, Patala garuda, Bhuin Penga, Haladi kanda, Kalad Kanda, Anala, Bahada, Harida, Pita kanda (all are local names) etc.  Mining will affect these rare medicinal plants. Many rare species and plants like Pitakonda, Taraka konda, Kakudi plant, Charu koli plants are also available in this hill. They are part of local people’s food, nutrition and medicinal eco-system. Mining will have an adverse effect on all these rare plants. Similarly, the hills are a natural habitat of Bear, Sambar, Kutura, Peacock etc. Mining activities along with increased human ingress, vehicular movement etc will affect the animal habitation. 

Not just environmental stakes, people have direct religious and cultural connect with the hills.There is a religious place of the adivasis in the Mali Parbat known as Pakuli Pahar Gumpha (sacred cave). The deity of this religious place is worshiped by the villagers of surrounding villages Aligon, Kumbhiguda, Daleiguda, Rajaniguda, Pakijhola, Mania etc. Many religions and cultural practices of local people are associated with Pakuli Pahar Gumpha. This old religious place will be destroyed by mining. What makes the issue hazier and more threatening is the mining company’s eagerness to get lot more land that what is required and whose affect have not been properly assessed.

It is high time the Govt. of Odisha heeds to the demands of this two-decades old struggle of adivasis and withdraws the proposals for bauxite mining completely.

With inputs from activists and people’s organizations in Odisha

In solidarity: National Alliance of People’s Movements

NAPM India