The government of Odisha granted a mining lease to the AdityaBirlagroupowned Hindalco, the aluminum manufacturing company in the Mali Parbat in 2003. The project is spread over 268 acres near Dolitoamba, about 20 km from Semiliguda in south Odisha's Koraput district. The company obtained the lease for 20 years with mining capacity of 6 lakh tonnes Bauxite per annum. Around 44 villages under the Sorishapodar, Hundi, Dalaiguda and Pakhajhola panchayats in Similiguda block would be affected by the mining. In the year 2003, the tribals organised themselves and formed a coalition to oppose the mining. Villagers claimed that as the mining site falls in the areas listed under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution, the mining company would require the consent of the Gram Sabhas (village assemblies) for the diversion of land. In such areas, Gram Sabhas enjoy special privileges to protect the rights of tribals as per the Panchayat Raj Extension to Schedule Areas (PESA) Act, 1996. The legal requirement has been affirmed by the Forest Rights Act of 2006 and by the Supreme Court in its judgment in the Niyamagiri Hills mining case in 2013. Environmentalist and villagers claimed that the water sources in the area, used by villagers for irrigation to raise their vegetables, will disappear if bauxite mining continued. They feared It will force them to move away from their ancestral land and look out for other livelihood option. There are 32 perennial streams and four canals that emerge from this hill. Nearly 2,500 families living in 44 villages rely on this water for irrigation of their fields. The mine stopped operation in 2010 due to the stiff opposition from the locals. Though bauxite excavation resumed for a brief period in 2012, it had to be halted as protesters opposed transportation of the mineral. On January 10, 2014, more than one thousand people from 44 villages staged a Dharna to protest against the mining activities. The administration reacted by imposing Section 144 (preventing assembly of more than three people at a notified place) of CRPC in the area. During the conflict, many activists faced the wrath of the police, administration, and local goons. Many have been implicated in false cases. However, the coalition of tribals is resolute that they will not let the mining start in the region. On January 18, 2017, over 4000 adivasis organised a rally to continue their opposition against mining. In 2021, Pradeep Kumar Nayak, Deputy Director, Mines at Koraput informed LCW that mining activity has been halted due to lack of statutory clearances and pollution clearance certificates.
Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources, Opposition against environmental degradation, Complaint against procedural violations
Forest and Non-Forest
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Central/State Government Policy, Environmental Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Other
The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(i) [Gram sabha or panchayat to be consulted before land acquisition and rehabilitation]
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 4 (2)(e) [Free informed consent of the gram sabha before displacement and resettlement in writing]; Section 3(1) [This section enlists the rights of forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, which include right to hold and live on the forestland, right to protect any community forest resource traditionally used, and the right to rehabilitation in case of displacement]; Section 5 [Duties of forest rights holders and gram sabha to protect wildlife, forest, biodiversity and against activities that affect cultural and natural heritage]
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2(ii) [Authorities or state government can pass orders for use of forestland for non-forest purposes only with the prior approval of the Central government]; Section 2(iii) [Assigning of forestland to private parties or authority or corporation only to be done with prior approval of the Central government]
The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act,1957
Section 5 [This section provides for restrictions on the grant of prospecting licences or mining leases]; Section 20A [Central government has the power to issue directions, which include those related to mitigating environmental impact and minimising ecological disturbance]
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
Section 3 [Power of the Central government to take measures to protect and improve the environment]; Section 6(2)(e) [The Central government has the power to make rules restricting or prohibiting industries to be established in certain locations, and regarding processes and operations]
Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Para 2 [Requirement of prior environmental clearance in case of new projects and expansion of existing projects]; Para 7 III [The prior Environmental Clearance process for new projects includes the stage of public consultation]
Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986
Rule 5 [This provision enlists the factors to be considered by the Central government for prohibiting and restricting certain locations for establishment of industries and the carrying on of processes and operations in different areas]
Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute
What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Violation of free prior informed consent, Violation of environmental laws, Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Non-implementation/violation of the PESA
Out of Court
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973- Section 144
Reported Details of the Violation:
The villagers allege that the police has foisted around 400 false cases against innocent people. Minimum 8-25 cases have been registered against each peaceful protester. Itâ€™s hard for the villagers to go to the market to sell their produce. False cases have been filed against 14 people alleging their linkages with the Maoists. These people are yet to get the bail.
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Blockades, Campaigns (Grassroots organisations/press releases/media), Development of a network or collective action , Protests/marches
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Government of Odisha
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
The Aditya Birla Group-owned Hindalco, the aluminum manufacturing company
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Mali Parvata Surakhya Samiti (MPSS)