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Adivasi Communities Grapple With Mining Challenges | Explainer

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The plight of Adivasi communities in regions like Chhattisgarh and Odisha has become a pressing concern, extending beyond localized issues to broader challenges linked to climate change. Professor Nandini Sundar from the University of Delhi recently shed light on these interconnected problems, emphasizing their impact on everyone. 

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The Adivasi communities in Chhattisgarh and Odisha are grappling with a myriad of challenges that transcend local boundaries and resonate as fundamental issues connected to climate change. Professor Nandini Sundar, during a recent discussion, underscored the importance of recognizing these challenges as not isolated concerns but as broader problems that affect the well-being of everyone.

In the regions of Bastar, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha, various protests, such as the Silger movement that unfolded two and a half years ago, have become the voice of dissent against the consistent violations of constitutional guarantees, notably the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA). Professor Sundar brought attention to the ongoing struggle of the Adivasi community in Bastar, highlighting their efforts to protect their rights and preserve their cultural heritage.

Govt Money Meant for Adivasi Development Is Being Used to Support Mining

Source: The Wire

A significant aspect of concern is the rampant militarization in Bastar, which, according to Sundar, primarily serves to safeguard mining operations rather than ensuring the well-being of the Adivasi community. This militarization poses a threat to the peaceful existence of these communities, disrupting their daily lives and creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Sundar stressed that understanding these challenges requires a holistic perspective, considering the broader implications for the environment and the diverse communities affected.

The mining activities in the Hasdeo Aranya forest have particularly raised alarms, with allegations from villagers that their consent was not sought before the initiation of these activities. The deployment of police forces to suppress protests has further fueled concerns. The ‘Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan’ (CBA), a collective of people’s movements, organized a press conference to address these issues, specifically highlighting extensive tree felling in Hasdeo-Aranya forests accompanied by police protection. Additionally, reports of a significant police presence in the Sijimali region of Odisha, allegedly aiming to forcibly obtain consent for Vedanta’s bauxite mining project, add to the growing concerns.

Why The Adivasi Protest Against Mining In Gadchiroli Shows No Sign Of  Flagging –

Source: BehanBox

Alok Shukla, an active participant in the movement, emphasized the adverse impact of corporate activities on Hasdeo forests, Adivasi culture, and the ecosystem. He raised concerns about coal block allocations to corporations like Adani, questioning the fairness of decision-making and the potential harm to the Adivasi community and the environment. Umeshawar Singh Armo, a prominent figure in the movement, drew attention to the harsh treatment of Adivasis protesting against the Hasdeo forests takeover, with seven individuals now facing charges in FIRs, raising suspicions of fabricated cases.

The legal perspective was provided by Prashant Bhushan, a Supreme Court Advocate, who highlighted systematic violations in mining, environmental protection, and Adivasi rights. Bhushan pointed out that these violations disproportionately favor the Adani corporate house and emphasized the prolonged legal battles in the Supreme Court without providing meaningful relief to those affected.

Hasdeo Aranya: Tribal Voices Unite Against Corporate Encroachment on Natural Resources

Source: Mooknayak

Sudiep Shrivastava, an Advocate from the Chhattisgarh High Court, discussed the targeted deforestation of Hasdeo forests for the exclusive benefit of Adani, despite the area being declared a no-go zone since 2014. Odisha activist Prafulla Samantray stressed the violation of Adivasi consent for mining projects, referring to the 2013 Supreme Court judgment, and highlighted the ongoing fight for people’s rights against corporate interests.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, a veteran journalist, discussed the economic dominance of Adani across sectors, emphasizing the substantial influence gained in the past decade. Thakurta pointed out the economic powerhouse Adani has become, coinciding with the rise of the BJP to power.

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