A three-day long mass protest by tribals and social activists will be staged from 26 January at Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district demanding a ban on mining in a 25 km radius of the Khandadhar water fall.
The Lok Shakti Abhiyan will take an active part in it, said Prafulla Samantara, president, Lok Shakti Abhiyan here on Tuesday at a press conference. Any decision of mining in forest land or schedule area without Gram Sabha is violation of Forest Right Act 2006 , said Samantara. Natural habitats like Khandadhar ecological tourism should be preserved and conserved. It&’s the need of the hour. But both the state and the central government will violate the law by planning to lease out iron ore mines of Khandadhar through the auction route, he said.
Samantara told reporters that leaders like Medha Patkar, Dayanidhi Barla of Jharkhand are scheduled to join and address the Satyagraha. The tribals of the area have formed a Khandadhar Surakhya Sangram Samiti to protect the hills, he said. A rally will be staged before the Satyagraha in the interest of water resources of Brahmani River, ecological and environmental and economic interest of tribals including primitive tribal like Paudi Bhuyan. Mining for iron ore will destroy not only the rich natural resources like water, forest and the livelihood system of tribals but also the habitat rights of tribals.Samantara said that union minister of tribal affairs Juel Oram has consistently opposed mining activity and now it is his responsibility to keep the area free from mining.