District collectors of Kalahandi and Rayagada were directed by the Odisha government to complete Gram Sabhas (village council meeting) on mining bauxite at Niyamgiri Hills.
This follows the Supreme Court's judgement on April 18 that the local tribal inhabitants would take a decision whether the proposed mining would be allowed at Niyamgiri Hills.
Following this, the state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave final approval for conducting the Gram Sabha in 12 villages.
The ST and SC development department issued notification asking the authorities of Kalahandi and Rayagada to start receiving fresh claims of individual, community and religious rights of local inhabitants under the provisions of the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
The High Court has sought certain clarification from the state's schedued tribe and scheduled caste development department.
The proposed mining at Niyamgiri Hills is significant as the state government had committed to Vedanta Group to supply required bauxite to its refinery from Niyamgiri Hills.However, local people are opposed to such an idea as they considered the Hill as their God.
The state government, on the other hand maintained that the seat of tribals Niyam Raja (tribals presiding deity) would not be affected due to mining with the proposed mining venue was located about 10 km from the seat of Niyam Raja.
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