Tribals including Dongria kondhs living atop the Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi and Rayagada district gathered here today to raise their voice against the Vedanta Aluminium refinery and demanded that the plant be shifted as it was polluting the environment and affecting their livelihood.

Emboldened with their success in opposing the bauxite mining of Niyamgiri hills, the tribals on Wednesday pitched for shifting of the refinery at Lanjigarh. It may be noted that the Dongria tribe had led the protests against mining of Niyamgiri hills leading to scrapping of the project.

The Supreme Court had directed the state government to hold gram sabha&’s on the project and in each of the 12 gram sabha&’s conducted, a unanimous resolution was passed opposing any mining activity in Niyamgiri. We opposed the mining project and the refinery is established on the foothills of Niyamgiri as it hoped to get the bauxite from the hill. Now that the mining proposal has been rejected, the VAL refinery at Lanjigarh should also be closed and shifted,said the tribals here on Wednesday.

They alleged that the sound and air pollution was adversely affecting the animal, bird and plant life of Niyamgiri. The tribal congregation was organized by the Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti (NSS) at Sakata village on the foothill of the hill in Muniguda block here.