Anti-mining Victory in Orissa
On August 25, the Indian government rejected a bid by a London-based company, Vedanta, to develop a bauxite mine in tribal regions of Orissa. In its rejection, the government acknowledged the environmental catastrophes and cultural destruction that would occur in areas that have been inhabited by Adivasis for generations.
In addition to bauxite (an aluminum-containing rock), this area produces a significant amount of coal, iron, and chromite. In February 2010, Amnesty International published a detailed report of a yearlong, on-site investigation. Findings included minimal local involvement in development plans, distribution of misinformation about the project, human rights and legal violations associated with use of the land in this way, and inevitable air and water contamination. The report also noted that local people have yet to benefit from the presence of national and international extractive companies; Orissa is one of the poorest states in the country, with 46% of the population living under the national poverty level (less than US$330 a year). In fact, the study reported anecdotally that local people have suffered economically as a result of these industries, experiencing decreased employment opportunities, loss of grazing land and farmland, and increased prices due to influx of laborers.