The Indian tribe of Dongria Kondh has won a long lasting battle over one of the world's biggest mining companies. India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has blocked Vedanta Resources' controversial plan to mine bauxite on the sacred hills of the tribe. The news was spread by Survival, which has been active in the campaign against the mine.

Talking to reporters here today, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Shri Jairam Ramesh said that the Vedanta Resources has violated laws and the Niyamgiri Hills project cannot be given the go ahead. "There has been a very serious violation of laws. There has been violation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, Environment Protection Act, 1966 and Forest Conservation Act, 1980. Therefore, the project cannot go ahead," he added.

A statement issued says, The stage II forest clearance for the Orissa Mining Corporation Ltd.(OMC) and Sterlite bauxite mining project on Niyamgiri Hills in Lanjigarh, Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of Orissa cannot be granted. Stage II Forest Clearance therefore stands rejected. Since the forest clearance is being rejected, the environmental clearance for this mine is inoperable.

The Dongria Kondh have mounted numerous protests, and two of their leaders were abducted and beaten before being released, in an atmosphere of increasing violence.

The Minister informed that government is examining penal action against Vedanta and is also mulling to issue a show cause notice for illegal mining.


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