'India' Tag Archive

Jul 21 2011

Foil Vedanta: New Website on the Struggle Against British Mining Giant Vedanta in India


The Saving Iceland collective is happy to point its readers to the newly established website of Foil Vedanta, an independent campaigning organization focused primarily on the British-Indian mining giant Vedanta Resources PLC. Explaining the campaign, Foil Vedanta, says on its website that “ Vedanta is headed by Britain’s seventeenth richest billionaire, Anil Agarwal, and was launched on the London Stock Exchange in 2006 with the assistance of the UK’s Department for International Development and Department of Trade and Industry, who continue with their support. Vedanta is a major producer of aluminum, a strategically important metal for the UK’s huge arms industry.” And continues:

Vedanta has mines, refineries and factories in various states in India – including Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Goa – as well as in Zambia. In Orissa Vedanta hopes to mine the mineral-rich Niyamgiri mountain. This would destroy the lives and livelihoods of the Adivasi (aboriginal) Dongria Kond people who live in the region. Despite the Indian Ministry of Environment repealing permission to mine Niyamgiri in 2010, Vedanta continues to push for the project, which if successful would be an act of cultural genocide. Read More

Jul 11 2011
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“We stand in solidarity…” – Protest at the Vedanta Annual General Meeting in London, July 27th


Call for protest at the Vedanta AGM (Annual General Meeting) 2011, 3pm on 27th July, Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, London, SW1P 3EE.

Please join us for the 7th annual protest outside the AGM of Vedanta Resources, the now infamous UK registered Indian mining company who have this year been exposed by the Indian government for serial environmental and human rights violations. We stand in solidarity with the Dongria Kondh and other inhabitants of Niyamgiri and Lanjigargh who have lost land, health and livelihood to Vedanta’s refinery, and faced repression and struggle in fighting Vedanta’s plans for a 73 million tonne bauxite mine and a six fold increase in the refinery’s capacity. We oppose Vedanta’s attempted take-over of British Oil company Cairn Energy who plan to drill in Greenland and Sri Lanka.

In 2010, protests outside Vedanta’s AGM made headlines as protesters on the outside shouted slogans targeting CEO ad majority shareholder Anil Agarwal for the ‘blood on his hands’, as well as David Cameron who was in India promoting joint UK-Indian business ventures at the time. Meanwhile activist shareholders held Vedanta to account inside the AGM, and key investors Aviva threatened to pull out due to the company’s ‘disdain’ for OECD environmental law. One month later the Indian government’s Saxena Report damned Vedanta for violations of tribal rights and environmental law at the Niyamgiri hills. Vedanta is also being investigated by the Indian government’s Lok Pal anti-corruption ombudsman for massive corruption over the illegal acquisition of 3000 acres of land for a ‘Vedanta University’ in Puri, Orissa. Read More

Jun 04 2011

Fundamental Questions About Modern Civilization Itself – Arundhati Roy on “Broken Republic”


In the video above, Indian author Arundhati Roy talks about her recently published book, Broken Republic: Three Essays, and how the Indian government is, along with international mining corporations, violating the indigenous of India, destroying their lands and displacing them, leading to a constantly increasing gap between the rich and the poor. One of the book’s essays, titled “Mr Chidambaram’s War”, focuses on the Dongria Kondh tribe in Odisha, who have fought against Vedanta’s and ALCAN’s bauxite mining for aluminium production over the last decades.

The following text explains Broken Republic’s content briefly:

War has spread from the borders of India to the forests in the very heart of the country. Combining brilliant analysis and reportage by one of India’s iconic writers, Broken Republic examines the nature of progress and development in the emerging global superpower, and asks fundamental questions about modern civilization itself.

May 24 2011
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Red Mud Spill and People’s Resistance at Niyamgiri: A First Hand Report From the Struggle


From Miriam Rose

On 16th May after heavy rain, toxic red mud poured from a breach in one of Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery red mud ponds, spilling onto the village below. The next day landless people displaced by the project held two blockades demanding adequate compensation; a five day walking protest ended with a meeting of 500 people on the threatened Niyamgiri hills; and the funeral of a tribal movement leader, killed by factory pollution, was held. Two months before Vedanta’s often-subverted AGM this will be bad news for the company. This is a direct report from the scene. Read More

Apr 12 2011

Press Release on Red Mud Pollution by Vedanta PLC


South Asia Solidarity Group, London / Simon Chambers

On 5 April, in a similar but much smaller scale repeat of the Hungarian red mud pond disaster last year, the wall of the red mud pond at Lanjigarh collapsed, resulting in caustic toxins to flow into the Vansadhara river.  This was after several warnings from the Orissa State pollution control board (which were ignored by Vedanta) that the wall to the RMP was badly built.  See below for a link to a very good video made by locals. Read More

Apr 12 2011

People Can’t be Made to Bathe in Red Mud


Felix Padel/ Samarendra Das

First Published : 20 Oct 2010 on Expressbuzz.com

When news spread that the red mud pond in a Hungarian alumina refinery had broken open on October 3 [2010], spilling toxic sludge over a huge area, killing people and livestock, this confirmed our worst fears regarding new refineries going up in Orissa [India] and neighbouring states. For Hungarians a nightmare scenario has begun, as their country faces to its worst-ever environmental disaster. Apart from villagers killed or maimed by the toxic sludge, many farmers face economic ruin, as their fields are contaminated beyond repair. How much worse would a similar disaster be in India, where the population density of farmers is much higher? Read More

Jan 29 2011
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Victory in India! – The Tribes of Orissa Conquer British Mining Giant Vedanta


These news about Dongria Kondh’s victory against Vedanta are not recent, but from August 2010. Unfortunately we were not able to publish the story until now.

Miriam Rose

After 13 years of continuous battle, the people’s movements to save the Niyamgiri hills from bauxite mining have won their land and livelihood back from the jaws of extinction. Niyamgiri is one of a series of threatened bauxite capped mountains in Orissa. On August 21st 2010 a review of the Vedanta mining project carried out by the Ministry of the Environment exposed the company’s “total contempt for the law”, having violated a number of environmental regulations, and revealed “an appalling degree of collusion” by local government officials with Vedanta. A few days later Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh called a halt to the project. Read More

Oct 12 2010
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Hungary’s worst-ever environmental disaster


The residents described « a mini-tsunami ». A toxic one.

Last Monday, the red mud reservoir of an alumina plant ruptured in Hungary, near Ajka, 165km west of Budapest. As a result, 1.1 million cubic meters of red mud wiped out several villages through waves more than 2 meters high. It flooded 40 square kilometers of land, including affluents of the Danube, then reached one of Europe’s longest river on Thursday morning. So far, 7 people have been killed, 1 is still missing, and more than 150 have been injured, mostly by chemical burns. The death toll is still expected to rise.

As we write these lines, surrounding villages are being evacuated as the structure threatens to break in another point, which would result in another 500 000 cubic meters flooding the area.

The disastrous chemical accident has been declared Hungary’s largest and most dangerous environmental catastrophe, exceeding by far the 130000 cubic meters of cyanide-tainted water that spilled in 2000 in Baia Mare, Romania. Ten years later, traces of cyanide are still found in the area. It is worth noting that this cyanide was in a liquid form, therefore very quickly carried aways by the river whereas the thick red mud will sit there for years, sipping into the ground and reaching ground waters.
Read More

Aug 23 2010
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Battles over Bauxite in East India: The Khondalite Mountains of Khondistan


By Samarendra Das & Felix Padel
(Article for ‘The Global Economic  History of Bauxite’, Canada 2010)

Most critiques of the aluminium industry focus on refineries and smelters, which are among the worst culprits of global heating. But bauxite mining excavates a huge surface area, and has caused environmental devastation in Jamaica, Guinea, Australia, India and recently also in Vietnam.

Perhaps no bauxite deposits are located in more sensitive areas than those in India, whose most significant deposits occur as cappings on the biggest mountains in south Orissa and north Andhra Pradesh. Tribal people live in hundreds of communities around these mountains, which they regard as sacred entities for the fertility they promote. Appropriately, the base rock of these mountains was named ‘Khondalite’ after the region’s predominant tribe, the Konds. Early geologists noticed the perennial streams flowing from these mountains, and modern evidence suggests that their water regime is severely damaged when the bauxite cappings are mined.

Bauxite has probably never been sold for a price commensurate with the damage done by mining it. For Konds and other small-scale farmers in East India, the aluminium industry brings a drastic disturbance to their way of life and standard of living that amounts to cultural genocide. If mainstream society sees these bauxite cappings of India’s Eastern Ghats as resources standing ‘unutilised’, Adivasi culture understands them as sources of life, and sees mining them as a sacrilege based on ignorance. Read More

Aug 14 2010

Open Meeting With Samarendra Das in Akureyri


This Sunday, August 15th at 20:00, an open meeting with Indian author, filmmaker and activist

Samarendra Das, will take place in the Akureyri Academia, Þórunnarstræti 99, Akureyri. The meeting is a part of Samarendra’s second visit to Iceland, now presenting his and Felix Padel’s recently published book, Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel. For the last decade, Samarendra and Felix have been researching the global aluminium industry and working with the Dongria Kondh tribes of Odisha, India, who are struggling against the British mining company Vedanta, that wants to mine bauxite there for aluminium production.

Samarendra will be in Iceland from August 14th to 21st and will have more talks and presentations during his stay. This Wednesday, August 18th, he will have a talk in the Reykjavík Academia, Hringbraut 121 at 20:00. More talks will be announced soon.

Click here for a full-length press release about his visit and the book.

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