Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tribal Leaders vow to oppose false propaganda by NGOs

Reporter: Kailash Tudu

“Villages still exist in the foothill of the mining site and people are engaged in agricultural activities. However, the NGO people misguided us by saying that our entire hill be destroyed and rivers and streams shall dry up. I will reveal this reality to entire Dongria Kondh Community”. This was the first reaction of Taalu Sikoka, after he visited Panchapatmali bauxite mining site and interacted with tribal villagers in the periphery area. Taalu was not only persons to have such reaction. Seven others from Dongria Kondh Community had similar reaction.

In order to verify several misinformation by some of the NGOs regarding bauxite mining from Niyamgiri hill, a team of eight persons, from Patsali, Guma, Luma and Dangamati villages visited Panchapatmali bauxite mining site, Asia’s largest bauxite reserve. The tribal leaders were amazed to see the positive impact of bauxite mining. In spite of repeated propaganda that bauxite mining will dry up all rivers and streams from the hill, they found that water flow in the streams is as usual and in some cases more than usual. “Forest Cover is also increased with the plantation by the mining company”, said Maandi Sikoka.

While interacting with local villagers they found that the villagers were doing double crop. None of the villagers is displaced; neither the hill has been collapsed. Rather the development activities taken up by the mining company has enhanced lives of people in the area.
“We won’t allow these NGOs to misguide us further. Now we see the reality and will let others know about this in our villages. If mining can change our lives so positively, then it was our foolishness to oppose the Mining from Niyamgiri,” said Drika Kadraka.

Some of the NGOs were mobilizing people against bauxite mining from Niyamgiri with their false propaganda. They were telling that the entire hill will collapse due to mining. Similarly, the rivers and streams will vanish. And agricultural activities will be severely affected. There will be lot of tree cutting and the tribal cannot collect any livelihood from the forest. Even the villagers shall be displaced.
In order to check the reality, they visited the nearest operational bauxite mining site. “It has opened our eyes,” said Taalu.
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