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Geoscientists defend bauxite mining in Niyamgiri, Odisha

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

Even as State Government is facing opposition over conducting Gram Sabhas to decide the mining in Niyamgiri hills, Society of Geoscientists and Allied Technologists (SGAT) has batted for permitting mining in the region.

With more than adequate safeguards provided for protection of environment, forest, rights and traditions of the tribal population, mining of bauxite, which is eco-friendly, should be permitted in the larger interest of the State and development of one of the most backward regions, SGAT Advisor BK Mohanty told mediapersons here on Thursday.

The body of geoscientists and engineers stated, “A relentless campaign has been launched against mining of bauxite by certain sections of society, political class, NGOs, etc with most of them not even knowing what bauxite is and its development potential and benefits.”

India is emerging as the fourth largest bauxite bearing countries of the world with Odisha holding the largest reserve. The wealth of resources was established by dedicated efforts of over 200 geoscientific and engineering personnel who overcame the challenges of inhospitable terrains and host of other threats. The resources should be exploited to increase production of aluminium and consequently raise the per capita consumption in India, which is a lowly 1.2 kg against 12.6 kg in China and a global average of 11.2 kg.

Bauxite mining is eco-friendly with negligible impact on water, vegetative cover, soil and air quality and other natural resources including habitation and wildlife. “With the safeguards provided, the apprehension that the mining will affect the lifestyle, culture, tradition of the primitive tribes as Dongria Kondhs is totally unfounded. The Dongrias will in no way be affected as their habitations are far off nor would the mining infringe upon their livelihood and cultural practices,” Mohanty said.

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