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NGOs take on the Supreme Court

Following a Supreme Court direction to allow the Vedanta Alumina Ltd. to mine bauxite in the protected forest area of Niyamgiri, the NGOs have taken a new position on the issue. They claim that the Orissa government has decided to evict the tribals from their homeland. The Amnesty in a statement in New Delhi said its people have been approached by various local NGOs, who alleged that around 800 Adivasis would be forcibly evicted from villages of Phuldumer, Konakuda and Palvari. This is despite the fact that mining is not proposed near the hamlets themselves, the Amnesty said.

The NGOs effectively challenge the country's Apex Court decision which came after five years of in-depth examination of various aspects of displacement, development, ecology and economy and after the intense submissions by the environmentalists and the human rights activists demanding that 661 hectors of forest land around the mining area should be reserved for the indigenous people and used only by them. The Supreme Court, in a pioneering judgment has laid down how a balance would be maintained between the conflicting claims of ecology and economy over the nature. The effort to approach the Amensty International after the Supreme Court examining all aspects of the project smacks of a disrespect of the abilitry of the nation's civil society to address its internal issue.

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