Locals in Khandadhar hills, Odisha continue to protest against the move by the state government to recommend prospecting license (PL) for Khandadhar mine to Posco.
This is despite the Supreme Court (SC) setting aside the July 2010 order of the Odisha High Court, that had quashed the state government’s recommendation in favour of the South Korean firm.
Locals and environment activists point out that Khandadhar region has a rich biodiversity and the water flow would be disrupted if mining is allowed there. Besides, allowing mining on a huge scale will upset the region’s overall ecological balance, they argue.
There are tribals and primitive tribals at Khandadhar. The Forest Rights Act must be implemented and gram sabhas will also come into picture, some observers of the development feel.
A member of the National Board of Wildlife opined that the apex court only asked the centre to take a decision on grant of mining rights to Posco after considering all objections. Before allowing mining at the site, the forest rights of tribals will have to be considered and settled, the member opined.
State Congress Chief Niranjan Patnaik said it was not opposed to the allotting of mines to Posco. All the mines in the state should be kept under state-run companies, he said.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the state government was yet to receive the order of the SC. Once the government gets it, it would follow it up, he added.
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