It’s A Steal
- In 1970, the Gandhamardan Block-B mining lease was awarded to Odisha Mining Corporation
- In 2013 the Shah Commission pointed out various illegalities in OMC’s activities there, including the mining over 1.2 million tonnes of ore from 2000 to 2006 without required forest clearance. Two forest offence cases are on in the Keonjhar district court.
- In January 2015, the state government, on behalf of the OMC, applied for forest clearance (1,590 ha) to expand annual production to a whopping 9.2 million tonnes. This includes over 1,400 hectares of forest across seven adivasi villages.
- The OMC proposes to mine this area for 302 million tonnes of ore over the next 33 years. It estimates the annual sale value of the ore to be Rs 2,416 crore.
- The Union ministry of environment and forests is considering the proposal.
Gopinath Naik, a member of the forest rights committee of Urumunda village, is...