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20 Apr 2005

Meena Menon, in The Hindu [India]

The battle for bauxite in Orissa [India]

For over 10 years, the Paraja and Kondh Adivasis of Kashipur and the surrounding regions of Rayagada district have opposed the bauxite mining project by Utkal Alumina. Consequently, the region has witnessed state terror in all its forms. Non-governmental organisations supporting the Adivasis were blacklisted by the State Government in 1998 for waging a "proxy war" against the State and their funds cut off...The people have warned of an environmental disaster with bauxite mining leading to drying of rivers, deforestation and ecological damage. They are demanding the cancellation of all the agreements with the mining companies. If the Government hopes to pull the Adivasis out of poverty by signing away bauxite leases, past experience in Orissa belies any such hope...human rights have been the first casualty. [refers to Alcan; does not explicitly refer to Hindalco (part of Aditya Birla Group) the other company involved in the project]