It was as if the real-life climax of the James Cameron blockbuster Avatar was being played out. In a nondescript village in the eastern Indian state of Odisha (Orissa), a tribal council last Monday voted against the plan by London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc to mine bauxite ore from “sacred” hills.
The assertion of community rights comes at a time when the Indian government is struggling to woo foreign investment to prop its fast-slumping economy.
Following protests by local residents, who had the support of civil society groups, India’s environment ministry banned mining in the Niyamgiri hills in 2010. The Supreme Court also ordered a referendum involving 12 village councils in the area on whether mining affected the individual rights of local forest-dwellers.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.