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16 Oct 2023

India: Forest conservation law's amendment enables corporates to commence activity without consideration of tribe's religious & environmental concerns

A news article (linked below) alleged that the amendment of India's forest conservation law diluted the term "forest", which enabled companies to commence mining and other 'development' activities in schedules areas without need for local's consent. The article alleges the following:

  • The Dongria Kondh tribe’s “religious and environmental concerns” were not considered when Vedanta leased areas of the Sijimali Hills.  The tribe was taken aback when the staff of the Mythri Infotech Company, Vedanta’s sub-lessee, caused the felling of trees in the area;
  • The alleged felling of trees and survey of the hills by Mythri was met with resistance from the community, which led to the police’s filing of information against nine activists;
  • The police, who allegedly acted as “henchmen” of “corporate houses”, cordoned the area preventing the tribe’s access to water;
  • Vedanta allegedly took 60 hectares of forest land, displacing 100 tribal families;
  • Further, the article alleges that the “[t]he refinery is throwing toxic slurry into the surrounding streams and this waste has also made its way to the Vamsadhara river […]”.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Vedanta, and its alleged sub-lessee Mythri, to respond to the allegations. None of the companies responded.

Company Responses

Mythri Infotech Company

No Response

Vedanta Resources Limited

No Response