• Info@cfdra.in

Seeking Public Consent in Nalco Mining: Pottangi Block, Koraput

Seeking Public Consent in Nalco Mining: Pottangi Block, Koraput

Seeking Public Consent in Nalco Mining: Pottangi Block, Koraput

Research conducted by:

Mr. Hitabhilash Mohanty, Consultant 

LLM in Human Rights 

The Navratna PSU had applied for environment clearance from Environment Ministry for bauxite mining lease spread over 697.979 hectare  (ha) land in Pottangi village of Koraput district. The bauxite mining lease will have an annual capacity of  3.5 million tonne per annum (MTPA). For this purpose,  the Odisha State Pollution Control Board on 17th December 2019 organised a public hearing at the stadium ground and the administration had invited villagers of Khudi and Sorispadar panchayats under Semiliguda and Kotia, Pottangi, Maliput and Nuagam in Pottangi block to attend it.

Figure – 1: NALCO gets clearance for buxite mining in Pottangi, Koraput

The Navratna PSU had applied for environment clearance from Environment Ministry for bauxite mining lease spread over 697.979 hectare  (ha) land in Pottangi village of Koraput district. The bauxite mining lease will have an annual capacity of  3.5 million tonne per annum (MTPA). For this purpose,  the Odisha State Pollution Control Board on 17th December 2019 organised a public hearing at the stadium ground and the administration had invited villagers of Khudi and Sorispadar panchayats under Semiliguda and Kotia, Pottangi, Maliput and Nuagam in Pottangi block to attend it.

Figure – 2: Public hearing conducted in Pottangi, Koraput seeking public consent

Post the public hearing, the media houses reported that the public hearing was conducted smoothly and a clearance was given to NALCO therein. For example,

“Nalco Pottangi mines supported in public hearing

Wednesday, 18 December 2019 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR

The National Aluminium Company Limited (Nalco) was allotted the Pottangi bauxite mines in Koraput district. As part of statutory conditions, the public hearing for environment clearance was held on Tuesday in a peaceful and amicable manner, wherein thousands of villagers from periphery villages of Pottangi block attended the meeting supporting the project.With significant participation of villagers, the meeting was conducted smoothly in presence of large number of public representatives, present and past members of Parliament of Koraput and others, who shared their views. Koraput ADM Deben Kumar Pradhan presided over the meeting.”

Source: The Pioneer, available at: https://www.dailypioneer.com/2019/state-editions/nalco-pottangi-mines-supported-in-public-hearing.html

Keeping the aforementioned fact in mind, the Research Team of the Centre for Democratic Reforms and Advocacy (CFDRA), team comprising of 3 research fellows, namely, Mr. Hitabhilash Mohanty(Project Coordinator), Mr. Rohan Pattnaik(Research Associate) and Mr. Harihar Patra(Research Associate) have conducted a fact finding investigation situation of the NALCO getting permission to carry on bauxite mining in Pottangi Block of Koraput District as a large public dissatisfaction was noticed post seeking environmental clearance after obtaining consent through public hearing on 17.12.2019

Figure – 3: Public hearing for seeking environmental clearance fir bauxite mining in Pottangi, Koraput

GROUND REALITY

  • People from 5 panchayats in Pottangi Block, Koraput attended the public hearing on 17th December 2019 namely, Maliput, Kotia,Sorispadar, Pottangi, and Nuagam
  • Approximately 2000 people gathered in the stadium field to attend the public hearing.
  • Peoples from villages who would be directly affected did not attend the public hearing as they feared the immense presence and activity of police in the area during the hearing.
  • People present in the hearing were mostly from the outside villages who are not affected by the mining project of NALCO. Moreover, none understood the proposition and gave clearance. 
Figure – 4: Tribals protesting against NALCO to carry on mining

CURRENT STATUS

  • People have come up on the streets and are making demonstrations in opposition to the NALCO’s mining project in Pottangi Block, Koraput.
  • The main reason for their opposition was because the mining would adversely impact agriculture and drinking water in the area by drying up natural streams and would also hurt their religious sentiments as the entire hill range is home to various tribal deities and of great religious significance to locals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.