International NGOs seek to play spoilsport for industries in State

They are coming to enjoy tourism marvels of tribal Odisha. But in many instances, the inside story seems to be something different. All on a sudden, the influx of International NGOs has raised eyebrows in Kalahandi district. Civil and police officials and industry proponents are in a quandary over the unexpected spurt in the movement of foreigners and foreign NGOs to Lanjigarh and adjacent areas of the district.

According to police officials, these foreigners are visiting the State on tourist visa on the plea of enjoying tourism spots. However, the aim of most of them is different as they are playing spoilsport for the State’s massive industrialisation, revealed an activist. Their principal target is Vedanta Aluminum Limited (VAL), which is setting up a project at Lanjigarh, he said.

Minister of Steel and Mines Raghunath Mohanty recently revealed that not a single tribal family would be displaced due to VAL’s mining project. He stressed that no Dongria Kondha tribe lives in the proposed mining area, located between Rayagada and Kalahandi districts.

However, the stories of the international NGO’s are different as they are circulating false and fabricated information about the industry here, alleged an official. The NGOs, with the support of some local NGOs, have been interacting with the tribals and disturbing their peace, alleged villagers.

The State-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), which has got the Niyamgiri mining lease, has taken Sterlite Industries India Limited (SIIL) as its partner. The State Government has constituted a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in the name of the Lanjigarh Project Area Development Foundation (LDADF) with the Government’s contribution as 25 per cent, OMC’s 26 per cent and Sterlite‘s 49 per cent, as directed by the Supreme Court.

The Revenue Divisional Commissioner is the chairman of the LDADF, which, at its first meeting itself, decided to undertake development projects worth Rs 17.70 crore in the areas of health, education, road, infrastructure development, the Minister Mohanty said.

Since mining is an important source of revenue generation, such projects should be encouraged along with principle of sustainable development so that these areas can be brought into the mainline, the Supreme Court had observed.